IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Bracing for Irene; Hey, how's your infrastructure? Earthquakes and now hurricanes test the East Coast; Fukushima Exclusion Zone to become permanent; Hundreds more tar sands protesters arrested at the White House; PLUS: Did Fox "News" just accidentally acknowledge human-caused climate change?!?! ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): 'Hockey Stick' climate scientist vindicated again; India & China spar over water; TX record-breaking drought getting 'worse by the day'; BP Oil Spill Fund has paid out $5B; 'Green Scissors' proposal to cut billions oil subsidies; EPA to creates mini-Civilian Conservation Corps for Great Lakes; Van Jones slams misleading NYT article on green jobs; "The Intermittency of Fossil Fuels"; Shell plugs North Sea pipeline spill; Shell’s shoddy safety record in the UK; GOP bashes Obama Admin for refusing to promote oil shale; Since 9/11, Koch Industries has fought tougher rules on chemical plants; National Review twisted in knots over GOP science denial; US natural gas reserve estimates cut by 80% ... PLUS: Climate cycles are driving wars: When El Nino warmth hits, tropical conflicts double: study...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Did Fox News Accidentally Acknowledge Climate Change?:
- VIDEO: Fox News: ‘Facts Are Certainly’ On The Side Of Global Warming, But ‘It Doesn’t Matter’ (Think Progress Green) [emphasis added]:
On Fox & Friends Sunday, anchor Clayton Morris admitted that Fox News factcheckers have confirmed that man-made global warming is “certainly” real, but argued that it “doesn’t matter” because climate denial is popular among Fox News-watching conservatives. Morris contrasted Jon Huntsman’s defense of the National Academy of Sciences with Rick Perry’s claims that scientists have “manipulated data” to concoct manmade global warming:
MORRIS: If you dive into the weeds a little bit on this global warming thing, you see that it seems that facts are certainly on Huntsman’s side on all of this and fact checkers have come out, we’re actually having our own brain room look look at this right now that any of Perry’s comments don’t seem to hold a lot of water. It doesn’t matter. What’s resonating right now in South Carolina is helping Governor Perry tremendously and he fired back at Huntsman on global warming and gaining traction, facts or not.
- VIDEO: Rick Perry Says His Climate Conspiracy Theories Are ‘Skeptical Science’ (Think Progress Green)
- Politifact: Do scientists disagree about global warming? [No.] (Politifact)
- Conservative, white men most likely to be climate change sceptics, study shows (Guardian UK):
The demographic was more than twice as likely than other adults to say the media exaggerated seriousness of climate change.
- East Coast Bracing For Hurricane Irene:
- VIDEO: NC Gov. Bev Perdue Declares State of Emergency, Orders Mandatory Evacuations (WTVD Raleigh-Durham, NC)
- Hurricane Irene: East Coast urged to heed evacuation warnings (LA Times):
Don't play the hero. That's the message from FEMA as officials warn that Hurricane Irene could prompt widespread evacuation orders up and down the East Coast.
- Hurricane Irene: American east coast braced for 'once in 50-year' storm (Telegraph UK)
- VIDEO: Fox's Stuart Varney Worries Obama Will Use Hurricane Irene As "Excuse" To Spend (MediaMatters.org)
- Flooding Could be Greatest Threat from Hurricane Irene (NYT Dot Earth)
- Millions at Risk After Shift in Track for Hurricane Irene (NY Times)
- Earthquakes & Hurricanes Testing East Coast Nuclear Plants, Infrastructure, Emergency Response:
- East coast earthquake reveals faults in nuclear emergency planning (Guardian UK) [emphasis added]:
In Virginia, the quake shut down the North Anna reactor – a warning that our 'worst-case scenario' may not be bad enough.
We're also lucky that this particular plant isn't as close to an urban centre as many others in the US. It's nearly 50 miles from Richmond, and about 100 miles from Washington, DC.
After Fukushima, everyone within 50 miles of the plant had to be evacuated. Right now, our evacuation plans for all our nuclear sites only cover a 10-mile radius. If something really bad were to happen at Indian Point, it could create the need to evacuate 21 million people.
- Pentagon Quake Nightmare: Fukushima on the Mississippi (Wired News) [emphasis added]:
In May, the federal government simulated an earthquake so massive, it killed 100,000 Midwesterners instantly, and forced more than 7 million people out of their homes. At the time, National Level Exercise 11 went largely unnoticed; the scenario seemed too far-fetched — states like Illinois and Missouri are in the middle of a tectonic plate, not at the edge of one. A major quake happens there once every several generations.
But Tuesday’s earthquake along the East Coast is a reminder that disasters can hit where they’re least expected. And if the nightmare scenario comes, government officials worry that state and federal authorities won’t be able to handle the “cascading failures” that follow.
- US Inspecting Virignia Nuclear Reactor After Quake (Reuters):
Dominion Resources workers were inspecting the North Anna nuclear power plant in Mineral, Virginia on Wednesday, a day after an earthquake centered near plant knocked both reactors offline, the company said.
- Older East Coast buildings pose earthquake risk (AP)
- Biggest earthquake to hit Virginia in 110 YEARS... but rare big east coast shakes are often more widespread than in west (Daily Mail UK)
- U.S. suffers record losses from extreme weather (Scientific American):
The United States has already tied its yearly record for billion-dollar weather disasters and the cumulative tab from floods, tornadoes and heat waves has hit $35 billion, the National Weather Service said Wednesday.
- VIDEO: Fox's Varney: "I Just Want To Bring Up The Earthquake" To Bash Obama On Spending (MediaMatters.org)
- Fukushima Exclusion Zone May Be Permanently Off-Limits:
- Fukushima Update: Large Zone Near Japanese Reactors to Be Off Limits (NY Times) [emphasis added]:
Broad areas around the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant could soon be declared uninhabitable, perhaps for decades, after a government survey found radioactive contamination that far exceeded safe levels, several major media outlets said Monday.
The government is expected to tell many of these residents that they will not be permitted to return to their homes for an indefinite period. It will also begin drawing up plans for compensating them by, among other things, renting their now uninhabitable land.
- Nuclear Refugees Struggle to Cope with Uncertain Future (Japan Times):
Like thousands of other people, Miwa Kamoshita's life was turned upside down when the March 11 tsunami struck the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, leading her and her family to voluntarily evacuate their home in Iwaki, some 40 km south of the crippled power station.
- Japan faces costly, unprecedented radiation cleanup (Reuters)
- Hundreds More Arrested at Tar Sands Action Protest:
- Nation's Leading Environmental NGOs Unified Against Tar Sands Pipeline (Reuters)
- With Emotions High and Evidence Low, Corrosion Questions Hound Canada-To-U.S. Oil Pipeline (Greenwire)
- State Department review to find pipeline impact ‘limited,’ sources say (Washington Post)
- VIDEO: Pants Low, Spirits High - The Tar Sands Protests (Jay Mallin):
More than [now 250] people have been arrested at the White House in the first three days of protests calling on President Obama to reject a proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would carry oil from Canada's tar sands to the United States. Writer Bill McKibben, a leader of the actions, says on release after two days in jail: "Our pants may be low but our spirits are high, and our determination intact."
- Lacking Evidence Of ‘Dilbit’ Safety, Tar Sands Proponents Deny Pipeline Corrosion Risk (Think Progress Green)
- Is Canadian Oil Bound for China Via Pipeline to Texas? (National Geographic)
- Tar Sands and the Carbon Numbers (Op-Ed, NY Times) [emphasis added]:
We have two main concerns: the risk of oil spills along the pipeline, which would traverse highly sensitive terrain, and the fact that the extraction of petroleum from the tar sands creates far more greenhouse emissions than conventional production does.
- US Chamber assails NY Times over oil pipeline (The Hill)
- GET MORE INFO: Tar Sands Action.org:
From August 20th - September 3rd we're planning a peaceful protest in Washington DC to defuse the largest carbon bomb in North America.
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Climate Secret: NSF Quietly Closes Out Inspector General Investigation with Complete Vindication of Michael Mann (Climate Progress):
NSF Inspector General: “Finding no research misconduct or other matter raised by the various regulations and laws discussed above, this case is closed.”
And so after countless investigations — 3 in the U.K., 2 by Penn State, the EPA, the NOAA IG — that have all unanimously found the allegations against climate scientists and their research conclusions based on the hacked “ClimateGate” emails to be wholly unsubstantiated, a top GOP presidential candidate backed by the fossil fuel industry still gives voice to the Texas-sized lie (see “Denier Rick Perry Takes $11 Million from Big Oil, Then Claims Climate Scientists ‘Manipulated Data’ For Money“).
- Record-Setting Agricultural Disaster in TX Gets 'Worse By the Day': (ClimateWire):
A record-setting drought and heat-wave in Texas is causing devastation on many fronts.
- India & China Conflicted Over Water (India Today) [emphasis added]:
China is expected to face 25 per cent water shortfall by 2030 as demand is set to spike. "Over 6,000 lakes in China are now dry. The Yellow River basin in the north is 30 per cent dead and this has led to desertification," says Sandeep Waslekar, president, Mumbai-based Strategic Foresight Group, which has published several reports on water insecurity in the Himalayan region.
Given this grim outlook, there seems little doubt that river diversion may be the only way out for the Chinese. It is the Tibetan plateau that gives China the superior upper riparian position with regard to key rivers in South Asia such as the Ganga, Indus and Brahmaputra. China has about 10 major rivers flowing out of its territory to 11 countries and fortunately for it, none flow in from outside. This puts it in the unique position of controlling international rivers.
- BP Fund Has Paid Out $5 Billion to Gulf Spill Victims (Reuters):
BP Plc has paid out more than $5 billion to 204,434 victims of last year's massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill, fund administrator Kenneth Feinberg said on Tuesday.
- 'Green Scissors' Proposes Hundreds of Billions in Cuts to Federal Giveaways (Environment News Service) [emphasis added]:
Eliminating $380 billion in subsidies to industries that damage the environment could go a long way toward resolving U.S. budget challenges, a coalition of groups from across the political spectrum said today in a new report. That amounts to about a quarter of the savings the new congressional Super Committee has been charged with achieving, in half the time, the groups point out.
The report, "Green Scissors 2011," identifies cuts to "wasteful spending that harms the environment," that would save $380 billion over five years, the groups said in a statement.
- A 'Small-Scale" Civilian Conservation Corps: EPA Creates Jobs With Great Lakes Restoration Program (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
- Exclusive: Van Jones Slams Misleading Quotes in Flawed New York Times Story on Green Jobs (Climate Progress)
- The Intermittency of Fossil Fuels (Renewable Energy World) [emphasis added]:
[A] series of recent events undermine the false dichotomy that renewable energies are unreliable and that coal, nuclear and natural gas are reliable....[O]ne emerging trend is that coal, natural gas and even nuclear energy are not as reliable as they are touted to be...
- Oil spill investigation begins as Shell plugs North Sea leak: Successful plugging of two Gannet Alpha leaks come as a Scottish newspaper reveals Shell's poor safety record in the region (Guardian UK)
- Revealed: Shell’s poor safety record in the UK: Last week’s North Sea oil spill was not the first time Shell had found itself in trouble (Scotland Sunday Herald):
Shell has been officially censured for breaking safety rules 25 times in the last six years and has one of the worst safety records of the major oil companies in the UK, an investigation by the Sunday Herald has revealed.
- Shell’s North Sea Reputation sunk by severe corrosion (Royal Dutch Shell watchdog blog)
- Republicans Bash Administration For Refusing to Promote Oil Shale, ‘The Petroleum Equivalent Of Fool’s Gold’ (Think Progress Green)
- Since 9/11, Koch Industries has fought against tougher government rules on chemical plants (iWatch):
Koch Industries, a leader of industry resistance to proposed post-9/11 anti-terrorism safeguards at petrochemical plants, owns 56 facilities using hazardous chemicals that put 4.8 million Americans who live nearby at risk.
- National Review’s Kevin Williamson ties himself in knots on climate science (Grist):
Over at National Review Online, Kevin D. Williamson is tying himself in knots trying to defuse or deflect the charge that Republicans have a problem with science. It started with this confused post, in which he says ... well, it's tough to figure out, but the thrust seems to be that liberals don't really care about science any more than conservatives do. They just want whatever answers support their policy preferences.
- Geologists Sharply Cut Estimate of Shale Gas - by 80% (NY Times):
[T]he Energy Information Administration, which is responsible for quantifying oil and gas supplies, has said it will slash its official estimate for the Marcellus Shale by nearly 80 percent, a move that is likely to generate new questions about how the agency calculates its estimates and why it was so far off in its projections.
- Climate cycles are driving wars: When El Nino warmth hits, tropical conflicts double, says study (Earth Institute, Columbia University):
In the first study of its kind, researchers have linked a natural global climate cycle to periodic increases in warfare. The arrival of El Niño, which every three to seven years boosts temperatures and cuts rainfall, doubles the risk of civil wars across 90 affected tropical countries, and may help account for a fifth of worldwide conflicts during the past half-century, say the authors. The paper, written by an interdisciplinary team at Columbia University's Earth Institute, appears in the current issue of the leading scientific journal Nature.