With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
Brad's Birthday Edition!
By Desi Doyen on 7/19/2011, 1:47pm PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Another record heatwave for the Midwest (now with crop failure!); "Carmageddon" becomes "Cartopia"; Australia launches nationwide carbon tax --- World doesn't end; PLUS: Dim bulbs (and Fox "News") fight to build a bridge to the 19th century ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): $485B a yr: What extreme weather costs US; Sea levels could rise for centuries to come; Lufthansa begins world's first regular biofuel passenger flights; Phosphate: A resource critical to farming, now starting to run low; U.S. Could Drop Screening For Deadly Strain of E. Coli; GOP Denies Global Warming as Polar Bear Cubs Die in Melting Arctic Ice; Study: Changes to ocean expected to damage shellfish around world; Europe Opens First Electric Car Battery Switching Station; Heatstroke deaths quadruple in Japan; Analysis: A severe EV battery oversupply on the horizon; Volvo, Jaguar testing flywheels as potential substitute for batteries in EVs; New Climate Study Models Potential for Rapid Onset of Catastrophic Climate Changes ... PLUS: More Americans now employed in "green" jobs than oil or gas jobs ...

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

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

  • $485 Billion Per Year: What Extreme Weather Costs the U.S. (TIME) [emphasis added]:
    [A] study by the National Center for Atmospheric Research estimates that the bottom-line cost of all the meteorological craziness is a staggering $485 billion per year in the U.S. alone, as much as 3.4% of the country's GDP.

    "It's clear that our economy isn't weatherproof," Jeffrey Lazo, the study's lead author, said in a statement. "Even routine changes in the weather can add up to substantial impacts on the U.S. economy."

  • Sea levels could rise for centuries to come (Summit County Citizens Voice) [emphasis added]:
    “This study marks the strongest case yet made that humans, by warming the atmosphere and oceans, are pushing the Earth’s climate toward the threshold where we will likely be committed to four to six or even more meters of sea level rise in coming centuries,” said Jonathan Overpeck, co-director of the University of Arizona’s Institute of the Environment.
  • Lufthansa begins world's first regular biofuel passenger flights (Bloomberg):
    Europe's second-largest airline, became the first carrier in the world to offer regular scheduled flights running on biofuel, with four daily round trips between Hamburg and Frankfurt.

    The airline will use a biofuel blend using 50 percent so- called hydrotreated renewable jet fuel, Lufthansa said. The fuel is made from feedstocks including inedible plants and wood chips. Lufthansa will fly an Airbus A321 on the services.

  • Phosphate: A resource critical to feeding the world since the Green Revolution is now starting to run low (Yale 360)
  • U.S. Could Drop Screening For Deadly Strain of E. Coli (Chicago Tribune):
    At a time of rising concern over pathogens in produce, Congress is moving to eliminate the only national program that regularly screens U.S. fruits and vegetables for the type of E. coli that recently caused a deadly outbreak in Germany.
    ...
    The [GOP-controlled] House last month approved a bill that would end funding for the 10-year-old Microbiological Data Program, which tests about 15,000 annual samples of vulnerable produce such as sprouts, lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, cantaloupe and cilantro for pathogens including salmonella and E. coli.
  • GOP Denies Global Warming as Polar Bear Cubs Die in Melting Arctic Ice (Associated Content):
    He has reported that polar bear cubs are being forced to swim longer distances due to their melting habitat in the Arctic, and the cubs are dying ultimately because of global warming effects.
  • Study finds natural shields being weakened (Al-Masry Al-Youm):
    In a vicious cycle with long-term implications for the climate system, the soil and the ocean are being weakened as buffers against global warming, say two new investigations.
  • Europe's First Electric Car Battery Switching Station (Green Car Congress):
    Customers simply swipe their membership card, which authenticates the car and subscription via the Operations Center, to activate the battery switch. The rest of the process is automated, similar to going through a car wash, so the driver never has to leave the car. In just a few minutes, a robotic arm removes the depleted battery and replaces it with a full one and the driver is back on the road.
  • Heatstroke deaths quadruple as Japan shuns air conditioners to save power (Bloomberg)
  • Lux Research: A severe EV battery oversupply on the horizon (GigaOm)
  • Volvo, Jaguar testing flywheels as potential substitute for batteries in EVs (Technology Review)
  • Built For Stability: New Climate Study Models Potential for Rapid Onset of Catastrophic Climate Changes (Nature):
    [C]limate models of the current generation, as used in the latest assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), have not proved their ability to simulate abrupt change when a critical threshold is crossed.
    ...
    Past abrupt change

    Although it is difficult to unambiguously identify true critical thresholds in the palaeorecord, there are well-documented examples of climate transitions that are abrupt in the sense that the climate response is more rapid than the forcing. Some of these events, such as the four examples discussed below, could have a direct bearing on climate predictions for the twenty-first century.

  • Report: More Americans have green jobs than oil or gas jobs (Christian Science Monitor):
    Clean energy and other parts of the 'clean economy' account for 2 percent of US jobs, employing some 2.7 million Americans, according to a recent report.
    ...
    "Clean" industries ranging from public mass-transit to green energy companies provide 2 percent of the jobs in the United States, according to the study, which was released last week. The number pales in comparison to sectors like health care, which accounts for 10.2 percent, but it is more than other key industries such as biosciences and oil and gas.