With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 6/2/2011, 1:38pm PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Obama nominates a 'radical environmentalist' for Commerce Secretary?!?; FDA sued over antibiotic-resistant superbugs; No wildlands for YOU!; Killer cucumbers; PLUS: The Arctic is melting (see photo at right), yet the media is obsessed with Weiner (see photo everywhere else) ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!...

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Palin: Gas Prices Are So High We Might Not Finish Our PAC-Funded Vacation; Canadian government deliberately left oilsands data out of UN report; Ice melt to close off Arctic's interior; Corexit Makes Oil Spills Worse; Oil industry slams EPA's regulatory review; How does oil speculation raise gas prices?; 3 CA Condors Die of Lead Poisoning; Philly Moves Ahead With 25-Year Water Management Plan; Stores Stock New Bulbs for the Light Switch; P&G to develop 100% bio ingredients; Energy efficiency is THE core climate solution ... PLUS: The Right’s Environmental Wish List ...

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

  • Another Day, Another Round of Deadly Torndoes:
    • Tornadoes Kill 4 in Central MA: Tornadoes tore through Western and Central Massachusetts yesterday, killing at least four people, injuring an untold number, and reducing schools, churches, and homes to splinters along its destructive path. (Boston Globe)
  • Obama Nominates A 'Radical Environmentalist' to Commerce Sec. Post?:
    • Commerce Choice Draws Praise for Background (NY Times) [emphasis added]:
      Groups often at odds with each other were united in praise for Mr. Bryson. Endorsement came not only from the Natural Resources Defense Council,... but from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers as well.
      ...
      “It is understandable that President Obama would select John Bryson as his nominee: he is a founder of a radical environmental organization and a member of a United Nations advisory group on climate change,” [Sen. James Inhofe, R-OK] said. He especially criticized Mr. Bryson for speaking well of cap-and-trade legislation to reduce carbon emissions, saying it would cost jobs and raise the price of gasoline and energy.
  • FDA Sued Over Over-use of Antibiotics in Factory Farming:
  • No Wildlands for YOU!:
    • See No Wild Lands, Speak No Wild Lands: Reversing course, the Obama administration's Interior Department scuttled a policy that it had touted barely five months before as reversing the wilderness policies of President Bush. (NYT Green)
    • Obama Gives Up Wilderness Protection Plan (AP)
    • Salazar: Interior will not enforce 'wild lands' policy (The Hill) [emphasis added]:
      [T] Interior Department will not enforce its “wild lands” policy after Republicans won inclusion of a rider blocking funding for the proposal in a recent government-spending package.
      ...
      But Salazar said he will work with stakeholders, state and local officials, and members of Congress to identify land that should be given federal wilderness protections. Salazar instructed Interior Deputy Secretary David Hayes to “develop recommendations regarding the management of BLM lands with wilderness characteristics.”
    • Why Salazar Backed Down on ‘Wild Lands’: After opposition from Western legislators, the Secretary of the Interior shelves a preservation proposal. (New West)
    • Obama administration collapses on wild lands protection (Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance) [emphasis added]:
      The Wild Lands policy was a response to the much-maligned Bush administration’s “No More Wilderness” policy. The Bush policy repudiated the BLM’s longstanding legal authority, used historically by Republican and Democratic presidents alike, to establish new Wilderness Study Areas.
      ...
      [T]he administration dithered for nearly two years before reversing the policy – sort of. It issued new, weak guidance – the Wild Lands policy – which was better than nothing. Today, they’ve retreated to nothing. Under Secretary Salazar’s June 1st memo the Obama administration promises NOT to protect America’s outstanding public lands as “wildlands,” let alone as wilderness study areas.
  • Killer Cucumbers NOT the Source of Deadly E. coli Outbreak in Germany:
  • Arctic Permafrost Melt Will Hit 'Tipping Point' In 20 Years:
    • Melting of the Arctic 'will accelerate climate change within 20 years' (The Independent U):
      A study into the speed at which the permafrost is melting suggests that the tipping point will occur between 2020 and 2030 and will mark the point at which the Arctic turns from being a net "sink" for carbon dioxide into an overall source that will accelerate global warming, they said.

      The study is the first global investigation of what will happen in a warmer world to the huge amounts of frozen plant matter that has remained undegraded in the soil since it was incorporated into the permafrost about 30,000 years ago.
      ...
      "Our research shows that the release of carbon from permafrost will result in an irreversible climate tipping point in only 20 years... Once the frozen carbon thaws out and decays, there is no way to put it back into the permafrost," [Dr. Kevin Schaefer of the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Boulder, Colorado] said.

    • UN chief challenges world to agree tougher target for climate change (Guardian UK) [emphasis added]:
      Global warming should be limited to 1.5C, not 2C, declares Christiana Figueres:

      "I'm not saying this is going to be easy," she said. "The argument I am making is not about feasibility but an argument of social justice. We can't have as our goal something that we already know does not guarantee the survival of low-lying states and sub-Saharan Africa.
      ...
      Warming of 2C above pre-industrial levels would cause sea-level rises, storms, floods, droughts and heatwaves, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, but the effects would be far less severe than if warming were allowed to reach 3C or 4C.

    • Carbon levels hit new peak, research shows: Preliminary data from the US government shows that carbon dioxide levels peaked last week at the highest levels on record (Guardian UK)
    • Global warming: Bleaker and bleaker (Guardian UK) [emphasis added]:
      New figures show we are still hurtling towards dangerous climate change - at a time when policymakers are running out of ideas

      As chief economist of the International Energy Agency, Fatih Birol is not given to overstatement – so his comment in our paper today that the latest figures on greenhouse gas emissions are "the worst news" should be taken seriously.

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

  • WATCH: Sarah Palin: Gas Prices Are So High We Might Not Finish Our PAC-Funded Vacation (TPM)
  • Canadian government deliberately left oilsands data out of UN report: Numbers indicate rise in annual pollution (Ottawa Citizen):
    The federal government has acknowledged it deliberately excluded data indicating a 20 per cent increase in annual pollution from Canada’s oilsands industry in 2009 from a recent 567-page report on climate change that it was required to submit to the United Nations.
    ...
    The data also indicated that emissions per barrel of oil produced by the sector is increasing, despite claims made by the industry in an advertising campaign.
  • Ice melt to close off Arctic's interior riches: study (Reuters):
    Global warming will likely open up coastal areas in the Arctic to development but close vast regions of the northern interior to forestry and mining by mid-century as ice and frozen soil under temporary winter roads melt, researchers said.
  • Corexit Makes Oil Spills Worse, Not Better, Scientists Find (Think Progress Green):
    In yet another alarming glimpse at the long-term effects of the BP disaster, the preliminary findings of two new studies show that the nearly two million gallons of toxic dispersants applied to the more than 200 million gallons of oil that gushed from its exploded rig may have been more damaging to the ecosystem as a whole than the oil alone.
  • Oil industry: EPA's reg review plan doesn't go far enough (The Hill):
    A plan released last week by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to review dozens of its regulations to ensure they are not overly burdensome does not go far enough, [American Petroleum Institute Director of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs Howard Feldman said Wednesday...
    ...
    “EPA is in the process of implementing enormously costly regulations on the very businesses that can and will create American jobs while continuing to improve environmental performance,” Feldman said. “We are particularly concerned with the agency’s plans to tighten the ozone standard and implement greenhouse gas controls on industry.”
  • How does oil speculation raise gas prices? (How Stuff Works)
  • Brazil Approves Massive Amazon Dam For Construction (Reuters):
    Brazil's environment agency gave its definitive approval on Wednesday for construction of the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam, a controversial $17 billion project in the Amazon that has drawn criticism from native Indians and conservationists.
  • 3 CA Condors Die of Lead Poisoning (AP):
    Three California condors found in northern Arizona and southern Utah have died of lead poisoning and three others had toxic levels of lead in their bodies, prompting conservationists to urge hunters to use non-lead ammunition and to carefully dispose animal carcasses that condors could feast upon.
  • Philadelphia Moves Ahead With 25-Year Water Management Plan (Philadelphia Inquirer):
    Philadelphia got the green light Wednesday for a $2 billion storm-water plan that will transform the way the city deals with rain.
    The 25-year plan, which has been hailed as a national model, envisions green roofs on office buildings, porous pavement on city streets and parking lots, and plants and trees with tubs of gravel below ground to hold water and stall runoff in a storm.
  • Stores Stock New Bulbs for the Light Switch (Wall St. Journal)
  • P&G gets new partner to develop 100% bio ingredients (Forbes):
    Procter & Gamble has set a goal of using 100% sustainably sourced renewable or recycled materials for all its products and packaging. "Novel innovations from our suppliers, such as ZeaChem's unique process to create bio-based chemicals, are critical to us achieving this vision," Len Sauers, P&G's vice president for global sustainability, said in the announcement.
  • Energy efficiency is THE core climate solution. Part 1: The biggest low-carbon resource by far (Climate Progress)
  • The Right’s Environmental Wish List (NYT Green):
    Today one could look at the 3-D Act, (for Domestic Jobs, Domestic Energy and Deficit Reduction), sponsored by David Vitter of Louisiana in the Senate and by Rob Bishop of Utah in the House, as a mosaic of Republican long-term goals like drilling for fossil fuels and reining in environmental regulation (or, in environmentalists’ view, rolling back crucial protections).
    ...
    [H]ere is an abbreviated look at the bills’ 12-step program...