With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 6/21/2011, 1:51pm PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Another Republican global warming non-denier enters the 2012 race; US solar industry now employs more people than the US steel industry; Bad news for the world's oceans, good news for those who like to lie about them; PLUS: Inspiration and dedication from the antidote to cynicism, Van Jones ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Yep: Artificial Meat Made From Poo; US Nuclear Plant Safety Rules Inadequate; Humans 'blissfully unaware' of coming climate crisis; Google invests in home solar; Japan Strains to Fix a Reactor; Flooding Brings Worries Over Two NE Nuclear Plants; Radioactive tritium leaks found at 48 US nuclear sites; US nuke regulators weaken safety rules; Japan Stops Water Treatment at Fukushima After Radiation Spike; 'Ominous Trends' in Atrazine exposure, but no proof; CO tests fracking in surburbia; Supreme court rejects states' global warming lawsuit; Rain-hit China braces for more storms; Gas Pipeline Industry Funds & Shapes Pipeline Safety Studies; Arctic Oil Spill Would Challenge Coast Guard; Ultra-efficient solar cells copy plants' 'quantum biology'; Armadillos Move North; Public Skeptical on Climate Change, Scientists Sure ... PLUS: NOAA Makes It Official: 2011 Among Most Extreme Weather Years in History ...

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

  • US Solar Industry Now Employs More People Than US Steel Industry:
    • Green jobs are real: U.S. solar employs more people than steel (Think Progress Green) [emphasis added]:
      People want to know: Are green jobs real? The answer is resoundingly "yes."

      With roughly 93,500 direct and indirect jobs, the American solar industry now employs about 20,000 more workers than the U.S. steel production sector. The American steel industry has historically been a symbol of the country's industrial might and economic prosperity. But today, the solar industry has the potential to overtake that image as we build a new, clean-energy economy.

  • Sorry, McCain: NO Evidence that Record AZ Fire Caused By Illegal Immigrants
  • Grand Canyon Is Safe From New Uranium Mining, For Now
    • Obama Administration to Ban Uranium Mining at the Grand Canyon: 'TR is Smiling' (Forbes):
      [T]he Obama administration will enact a 20-year ban on new uranium mining in the last remaining unprotected lands surrounding the place President Theodore Roosevelt called "the one great sight which every American should see."

      Salazar said more study is needed before finalizing the withdrawal of the million acres of land around the Grand Canyon. A two-year moratorium that would have expired in weeks has been extended until December when the decision will become official.

    • Ban On Mining Near Grand Canyon Extended (Reuters)
  • Another Republican Global Warming NON-Denier Enters the 2012 Race:
  • Really, Really Bad News For the World's Oceans:
  • 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...

    • Yep: Artificial Meat Made From Poop (Treehugger):
      Researcher Ikeda is using sewage mud or human feces as one of the main ingredients in his artificial meat. According to Inhabitat, "[t]he lipids are then combined with a reaction enhancer, then whipped into "meat" in an exploder. Ikeda then makes the poop more savory, by adding soya and steak sauce."
    • US Nuclear Plant Safety Rules Inadequate, Group Says (NY Times)
    • Father of LEED: Humans 'blissfully unaware' of coming climate crisis: "Whether we like it or not, S.S. Business-as-usual has already hit the iceberg," he said. "And we just don't quite know it yet." (SmartPlanet)
    • Home solar gets $280 million boost from Google (Christian Science Monitor):
      Under [the home] solar program, homeowners would get free rooftop panels, paying set amount for the power.
      ...
      The $280 million deal with installer SolarCity is the largest of its kind. SolarCity can use the funds to pay for a solar system that it can offer to residents for no money down. In exchange, customers agree to pay a set price for the power produced by the panels.

      Google earns a return on its investment by charging SolarCity interest to use its money and reaping the benefits of federal and local renewable energy tax credits.

    • Japan Strains to Fix a Reactor Damaged Before Quake (NY Times):
      Three hundred miles southwest of Fukushima, at a nuclear reactor perched on the slopes of this rustic peninsula, engineers are engaged in another precarious struggle.
      ...
      The Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor - a long-troubled national project - has been in a precarious state of shutdown since a 3.3-ton device crashed into the reactor's inner vessel, cutting off access to the plutonium and uranium fuel rods at its core.
    • Midwest Flooding Brings Worries Over Two NE Nuclear Plants (NY Times) [emphasis added]:
      Though the plants have declared "unusual events," the lowest level in the emergency taxonomy used by federal nuclear regulators, both were designed to withstand this level of flooding, and neither is viewed as being at risk for a disaster, said a spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

      "We think they've taken all the necessary precautions and made the appropriate arrangements to deal with the flooding conditions," said the spokesman, Victor Dricks.

    • Radioactive tritium leaks found at 48 US nuclear sites (AP):
      Radioactive tritium has leaked from three-quarters of U.S. commercial nuclear power sites, often into groundwater from corroded, buried piping, an Associated Press investigation shows.

      The number and severity of the leaks has been escalating, even as federal regulators extend the licenses of more and more reactors across the nation.

    • AP Special Report: US nuke regulators weaken safety rules (AP) [emphasis added]:
      Federal regulators have been working closely with the nuclear power industry to keep the nation's aging reactors operating within safety standards by repeatedly weakening those standards, or simply failing to enforce them, an investigation by The Associated Press has found.

      Time after time, officials at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission have decided that original regulations were too strict, arguing that safety margins could be eased without peril, according to records and interviews.
      ...
      Failed cables. Busted seals. Broken nozzles, clogged screens, cracked concrete, dented containers, corroded metals and rusty underground pipes - all of these and thousands of other problems linked to aging were uncovered in the AP's yearlong investigation. And all of them could escalate dangers in the event of an accident.

    • Japan Stops Water Treatment at Fukushima After Radiation Spike (Washington Post):
      A system to clean massive amounts of contaminated water at the site of Japan's nuclear disaster was shut down Saturday, just hours after it began full operations, because a component filled with radioactivity much more quickly than expected.
    • Atrazine-Defect Link? Doctor Sees 'Ominous Trends' But No Proof (Wisconsin State Journal):
      Gastroschisis, a birth defect in which the intestines grow outside the body, is more common among babies conceived in the spring when the levels of the herbicide atrazine in water are highest, researchers from Indiana reported.
    • Colorado Tests Whether Drilling and Surburbia Can Co-Exist (Denver Post):
      From his deck, Bob Arrington can hear the rustle of aspens and the chirp of birds. He can see the golf course; Battlement Mesa, still spring green, to the south; and Roan Plateau, pink and tan, to the north. Soon he may also be able to see a drilling rig - right near the sixth hole.
    • Supreme court rejects global warming lawsuit (Reuters):
      The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a global warming lawsuit against five big power companies, its most important environmental ruling since 2007 and a victory for the utilities and the Obama administration.

      The justices unanimously overturned a U.S. appeals court ruling that the lawsuit now involving six states can proceed in an effort to force the coal-burning plants to cut emissions of gases that contribute to climate change.

      In a defeat for environmentalists, the Supreme Court agreed with the companies that regulating greenhouse gases should be left to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the clean air laws.

    • Rain-hit China braces for more storms (Hindustan Times)
    • Arctic Oil Spill Would Challenge Coast Guard (Reuters):
      A major offshore Arctic oil spill could severely challenge the Coast Guard, with no available infrastructure to base rescue and clean-up operations, the Coast Guard commandant said on Monday.
    • Gas Pipeline Industry Funds & Shapes Pipeline Safety Studies (SF Chronicle):
      Pipeline operators and their trade organizations shaped, managed and provided sizable funding for numerous safety studies conducted by the federal agency that regulates the industry, a Chronicle investigation shows.
    • How we'll get ultra-efficient solar cells by copying plants' 'quantum biology' (Grist.org):
      A new discipline called "quantum biology" holds that plants are exploiting a trick of quantum mechanics to convert sunlight into plant niblets at unexpectedly high efficiencies. The details are complicated, but it appears that electrons produced by a plant cell's chloroplasts attain a state of quantum "coherence," where the electrons' wave patterns are moving in lock-step. It's sort of like a crew team pulling in unison --- much more powerful than everyone just flailing their oars around chaotically.
    • Armadillos Move North Across Warmer North America (Daily Climate):
      Here's one advantage to armadillos' steady northward march across the Southeast United States: They're awfully handy to have as bait if, say, you're a wildlife biologist looking to trap an alligator that has inexplicably settled into your local pond in north Georgia.
    • Public Skeptical on Climate Change, Scientists Sure: (NPR):
      The American public is less likely to believe in global warming than it was just five years ago. Yet, paradoxically, scientists are more confident than ever that climate change is real and caused largely by human activities.
    • NOAA Makes It Official: 2011 Among Most Extreme Weather Years in History (Scientific American)