IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Facing the aftermath of disaster in Joplin; Typhoon Songda hits Japan (Fukushima spared); Germany to dump all nukes; Rise of the emissions - now the highest on record; PLUS: Saudi Arabia really wants you to have lower gas prices ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): US won't protect threatened bluefin tuna; G8 calls for stricter nuke standards; IEA: Renewable elec. generation key to climate change; WA dismantles dams; African land grab could lead to water wars; Electrical "Micro-grids" could revolutionize US electricity production; Cate Blanchett defends 'vain' pro-carbon tax campaign; NJ: Polluters rewriting rules for site cleanup; Groundwater depletion detected from space; Food safety advocates decry GOP cuts to FDA; Germany: 15 Dead from food poisoning; Libya: Water Emerges As A Hidden Weapon; France's dry spring could lead to power blackouts ... PLUS: A Brief History of Plastic's Conquest of the World ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- As Carbon Output Hits Record High, Palin Declares ‘I Love That Smell Of The Emissions’ (Think Progress Green) [emphasis added]:
Palin’s first stop was a motorcycle rally in D.C. where she rode in on a Harley and proudly announced to a group of veterans and TV cameras, “I love that smell of the emissions!” Ironically, the same day Palin professed her love of carbon emissions, the International Energy Agency issued a dramatic announcement on the same subject: greenhouse-gas emissions increased by a record amount last year to the highest carbon output in history.
- Rise of the Emissions: 2010 Global Emission Highest On Record:
- Dangerous Climate Change 'almost Impossible' To Stop After Huge Rise in Greenhouse Gases (Daily Mirror):
It may soon be too late to stop global warming due to record levels of carbon emissions being belched into the atmosphere, experts have warned.
Fatih Birol, IEA chief economist, said: “This is the worst news on emissions. It is becoming extremely challenging to remain below two degrees. The prospect is getting bleaker.”
- Worst Ever Carbon Emissions Leave Climate on the Brink (Guardian UK)
- CO2 Emissions Highest Ever In 2010: IEA (AFP)
- Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions Jump to Record Levels (ENS)
- South Africa Hosts Ministerial Meeting To Devise Strategies For COP 17 (Bernama)
- World Must Face 'Inconvenient Truth' of Emissions Rise, Says UN Climate Chief (Guardian)
- The True Cost of Carbon: Fossil Fuel Energy Is Much More Expensive Than We Think (NYT Economix blog):
our energy choices are based on the visible costs that appear on utility bills and at the gas pump. This system masks the social costs arising from those energy choices, including shorter lives, higher health care expenses, a changing climate, and weakened national security. As a result, we pay unnecessarily high costs for energy.
- World's Mayors Discuss Cities' Climate Change Adaptation Strategies:
- C40 Summit: Megacity Mayors Leading The Fight For Sustainable Survival (Think Progress Green):
In an exclusive interview with ThinkProgress Green, the manager of the C40 Climate Leadership Group, Simon Reddy explained how the group works together:
"All cities are different, but a lot of the solutions and the problems are similar. There isn’t one large city in the world that doesn’t have traffic problems, that couldn’t be more efficient in its use of electricity, that isn’t trying to improve its waste systems. The leaders come together to share ideas on waste, bus transit systems, travel demand management."
- An Unlikely Power Duo Emerges in the Global Fight Against Climate Change (NY Times)
- World's Cities Taking Steps on Climate Change as Governments Bicker at UN (Bloomberg)
- Ailing UN Climate Talks Jolted by Record Surge in Greenhouse Gases (Guardian UK)
- Facing the aftermath of disaster in Joplin:
- WATCH: President Obama in Joplin: "It's an Example of What the American Spirit is all About" (White House.gov)
- TRANSCRIPT of the President's Remarks at the Memorial Service for Victims of the Joplin Tornado (White House.gov) [emphasis added]:
The main thing I just want to communicate to the people of Joplin is this is just not your tragedy. This is a national tragedy and that means there will be a national response.
And then we're just going to have a tough, long slog. But what I've been telling every family that I've met here is we're going to be here long after the cameras leave. We are not going to stop until Joplin is fully back on its feet.
- 29 still missing in Joplin after tornado: FEMA hopes to find tornado victims rental housing and may consider bringing in trailers. (LA Times)
- 9 days after tornado, rebuilding begins in Joplin (AP)
- Feds to pay for 90% of Joplin tornado cleanup (St. Louis Business Journal)
- Aftermath of 2011 Joplin tornado: Environmental crisis looms large (International Business Times)
- Resources for finding facts on tornados online (Infodocket)
- 2011 deadliest year for tornadoes since 1950 (Huffington Post Green)
- Tornado Experts: How Complacency Kills (CBS News)
- GOP Says No Disaster Aid for Joplin Without Budget Cuts (But NOT for Big Oil):
- WATCH: Cantor on Face The Nation: Budget cuts necessary to provide aid to tornado stricken Joplin, Mo. (CBS News)
- GOP Responds To Disasters By Slashing $1.5 Billion In Disaster Preparedness Funds (Think Progress Green)
- Missouri Rep. Russ Carnahan (D) responds to Cantor on MSNBC's The Ed Show: (Think Progress Green) [emphasis added]:
"[T]o have that debate in the face of the suffering we’ve seen in Joplin is 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 let’s not have it on the backs of people of Joplin.”
- Cantor: Disaster relief must be offset (The Hill)
- Saudi Arabia REALLY Wants You to Have Lower Gas Prices:
- WATCH: Saudi prince calls for lower oil prices: Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal said Sunday that he wants oil prices to drop so that the United States and Europe don't accelerate efforts to wean themselves off his country's supply. (Fareed Zakaria, CNN)
- Fox News Affiliated Saudi Prince: ‘We Don’t Want The West To Go Find Alternatives’ To Oil (Think Progress):
BIN TALAL: The stiff position of Saudi Arabia, we want the price to be between $70 and $80. Not only to help the West, but also to help ourselves. We don’t want the West to go and find alternatives, because, clearly, the higher the price oil goes, the more you have incentive to go and find alternatives. So, really, our interest coincides with American interest, to have the price for around $70, $80 which is a price good for consumers and producers.
- Germany Dumps Nukes:
- WATCH: Germany Announces Plans to Close Nuclear Plants (Democracy Now!):
German Chancellor Angela Merkel: "Step by step, we will abandon nuclear energy by the end of 2022. This path is a big challenge for Germany, but it also means huge opportunities for future generations. We believe that our country can become a front runner for the creation of renewable energy, and as the first large industrial nation, we can create such a change toward highly efficient and renewable energies, with all its opportunities for export, developments and technology which create jobs."
- Germans Mount Massive Protest Against Nuclear Power (Treehugger)
- Germany to shut all nuclear reactors: Move prompted by mass protests against nuclear power following Japan's nuclear disaster (Guardian UK)
- Germany to shut all nuclear reactors by 2022: Germany is to shut down all the country's nuclear reactors by 2022 making it the first major industrial power to become nuclear free in the aftermath of the Japanese Fukushima disaster. (Telegraph UK)
- UPDATE on Japan's Nuclear Nightmare: Admitting Meltdowns, Changing Course to Renewables:
- Tropical Storm Songda Hits Japan Region Still Reeling From Earthquake and Tsunami (ABC News)
- Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan 'unready for typhoon': Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is not fully prepared for heavy rain and winds of a typhoon heading towards the country, officials admit. (BBC)
- Japan Moves to Protect Children As New Nuclear Leak Revealed (Reuters):
Japan will pay schools near the quake-ravaged Fukushima nuclear power plant to remove radioactive top soil and set a lower radiation exposure limit for schoolchildren after a growing outcry over health risks.
- In Japan, a Culture That Promotes Nuclear Dependency (New York Times)
- Shades of the BP oilspill cam: WATCH LIVE streaming video of Fukushima (Forbes)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- U.S. Declines to Protect the Overfished Bluefin Tuna (NYT Green):
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the fish, whose fatty flesh is prized by sushi aficionados, would be classified as a species of concern, however, effectively placing bluefin on a watch list as the agency awaits new data on the impact of a stricter international management regimen.
- G8 Leaders Call for Stricter Nuclear Power Standards Worldwide (Environment News Service):
The annual G8 Summit concluded this afternoon with agreement among leaders of the world's largest industrial democracies to strengthen nuclear security in view of Japan's ongoing nuclear power plant crisis. The leaders outlined their climate change goals for the United Nations negotiations in Durban, South Africa later this year, agreed on their commitment to "sustainable" growth and offered support to the newly free countries of North Africa.
- Intl. Energy Agency: Transforming Electrical Generation is Key to Fighting Climate Change (Forbes):
“Electricity is unique when it comes to meeting the climate change challenge,” said Bo Diczfalusy, Director of Sustainable Energy Policy and Technology at the IEA, in a statement at the book’s launch. “It…holds many of the solutions to a more efficient, less carbon-intensive economy.”
- WA State Dams Power Down in the Largest US Dam Removal (AP):
The Elwha River on Washington's Olympic Peninsula once teemed with legendary salmon runs before two towering concrete dams built nearly a century ago cut off fish access to upstream habitat, diminished their runs and altered the ecosystem." Now the dams are being removed.
- African land grab could lead to future water conflicts (New Scientist)
- Electrical "Micro-grids" Could Revolutionize US Electricity Production (Sacramento Bee)
- Cate Blanchett defends 'vain' pro-carbon tax campaign (Telegraph UK):
The award-winning actor defends her role in an advertising campaign that supports Australia's proposed carbon tax, after climate denying conservatives accuse her of being "morally vain" and out of touch with "ordinary Australians".
- NJ: Polluters Rewriting the Rules for Site Cleanup (Bergen Co. Record):
Key committees writing rules for New Jersey's new program to clean up contaminated sites are made up entirely of the polluting companies and their contractors.
- Groundwater Depletion Is Detected From Space (NY Times):
Scientists have been using small variations in the Earth's gravity to identify trouble spots around the globe where people are making unsustainable demands on groundwater, one of the planet's main sources of fresh water.
- Food Safety Advocates Decry FDA Cuts (Washington Post):
Budget cuts proposed by House Republicans to the Food and Drug Administration would undermine the agency's ability to carry out a historic food-safety law passed by Congress just five months ago, food safety advocates say.
- 15 Dead in Germany as Food Poisoning Crisis Grows (AFP)
- Libya: Water Emerges As A Hidden Weapon (Inter Press Service):
Libya's enormous aquatic reserves could potentially become a new weapon of choice if government forces opt to starve coastal cities that heavily rely on free flowing freshwater.
- Europe's dry spring could lead to power blackouts, governments warn: Low river levels may cause nuclear reactors to go offline, while dry weather in northern and eastern Europe will raise food prices (Guardian UK)
- A Toxic Love Story: A Brief History of Plastic's Conquest of the World (Scientific American):
Plastics freed us from the confines of the natural world, from the material constraints and limited supplies that had long bounded human activity. That new elasticity unfixed social boundaries as well. The arrival of these malleable and versatile materials gave producers the ability to create a treasure trove of new products while expanding opportunities for people of modest means to become consumers. Plastics held out the promise of a new material and cultural democracy. The comb, that most ancient of personal accessories, enabled anyone to keep that promise close.
What is plastic, this substance that has reached so deeply into our lives?