IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: EPA, 'green' energy under attack at the GOP Presidential debates; Whitehouse blasts climate change denial industry (Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, that is...); Australia forges ahead with carbon tax; International Energy Agency issues dire warnings of higher food & fuel prices to come; PLUS: Surprise! Scientists got it wrong: The Arctic is melting faster --- much faster --- than predictions ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: EPA, 'green' energy under attack at the GOP Presidential debates; Whitehouse blasts climate change denial industry (Senator Sheldon, that is...); Australia forges ahead with carbon tax; IEA: Dire warnings of higher food & fuel prices to come; PLUS: Surprise! Scientists got it wrong: The Arctic is melting faster --- much faster --- than predictions ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): US solar firms file trade complaint against China; FDA cites dirty equipment in cantaloupe outbreak; Sen. Rand Paul lifts hold on pipeline bill; Regulators impose limits on oil speculation; EPA plans new water standards for 'fracking'; Natural gas drilling causing conflicts with mortgages; U.S. can only monitor offshore drilling in Cuban waters; Drama-filled 2011 World Solar Racing Challenge; Herman Cain's extensive ties to billionaire Koch Brothers; Climate change is shrinking species, research suggests; David Suzuki on the Occupy Wall Street Movement; Fox News FAIL: reports fake solar scandal; Fracking: you don’t miss your water ‘til your well explodes; Climate change could trap 100s of millions in disaster areas ...PLUS: Solar Leaf breakthrough: while Tea Party slimes clean energy progress, innovators build the future ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- GOP Presidential Candidates AGAIN Attack the EPA and Clean Energy:
- VIDEO: Full CNN & Western Republican Leadership Conference Debate: TX Gov. Rick Perry attacks clean energy @21:20 (YouTube)
- Rick Perry's Failed Attempt at Crafting an Inspirational Energy Plan (Plus Hilarious 'Bad-Lip Reading' Version) (Think Progress Green):
Rick Perry’s campaign released a new video on his energy plan this morning, trying to to drum up inspiration for his “drill-anywhere-burn-everything, climate-be-damned” energy policy.
Complete with orchestral music fit for a Lord of the Rings movie and supportive quotes from media pundits, Perry’s campaign attempts to spin his climate-killing energy plan into a hopeful vision for the future.
- Conservatives Want To End Support for America'S Fastest Growing Industry (Grist)
- Fact Check: Las Vegas Smackdown (FactCheck.org)
- Clearing the Air on Perry’s Record: We find his claims about cleaning up pollution to be exaggerated. (FactCheck.org)
- Perry Officials Censored Climate Change Report: The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality doesn't want you to know that climate change is causing sea level rise in Galveston Bay. (Mother Jones):
Top environmental officials under Perry have gutted a recent report on sea level rise in Galveston Bay, removing all mentions of climate change.
- House Republicans Score Another Symbolic Defeat for EPA --- This Time Over Toxic Coal Ash (iWatch News)
- Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse's Blistering Floor Speech on Climate Change:
- VIDEO: Senator Whitehouse’s Must-See Climate Speech: “We Ignore the Laws of Nature of God’s Earth at Our Very Grave Peril” (Climate Progress) [emphasis added]:
It has become no longer politically correct in certain circles in Washington to speak about climate change or carbon pollution or how carbon pollution is causing our climate to change.
This is a peculiar condition of Washington. If you go out into, say, our military and intelligence communities, they understand and are planning for the effects of carbon pollution on climate change. They see it as a national security risk. If you go out into our nonpolluting business and financial communities, they see this as a real and important problem. And, of course, it goes without saying our scientific community is all over this concern. But as I said, Washington is a peculiar place, and here it is getting very little traction.
Here in Washington we feel the dark hand of the polluters tapping so many shoulders. And where there is power and money behind that dark hand, therefore, a lot of attention is paid to that little tap on the shoulder. What we overlook is that nature — God’s Earth — is also tapping us all on the shoulder, with messages we ignore at our peril. We ignore the messages of nature of God’s Earth and we ignore the laws of nature of God’s Earth at our very grave peril.
- VIDEO: Clean Environment Smackdown: Stephen Colbert and Former EPA Chief Carol Browner Debate (Climate Progress):
Ultimately, Colbert came up with his own solution — describing why pollution is a better job creator than cleaning up the environment: “If there’s more pollution then there’s more work for the doctors who have to cure us of the diseases we get from the things we eat and drink. I can use your logic against you.”
- Blunt Warnings from the International Energy Agency:
- Change needed to avoid 'dire' energy future: IEA (AFP) [emphasis added]:
The world faces a "dire" future unless a complete change of course is made to deal with the huge problem of surging energy demand, the International Energy Agency warned on Wednesday.
Despite promising signs in the renewables sector, current development is "insufficient" to attain emission reduction targets, the IEA said.
- Energy ministers: Demand, pollution to skyrocket (AP) [emphasis added]:
If advances aren't made in clean technology, Ferguson, citing an upcoming IEA report, said carbon emissions could cause global temperatures to rise more than 3.5 degrees Celsius (6.3 degrees Fahrenheit). That's significantly higher than the threshold of 2 degrees (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) beyond which serious damage from climate change is expected.
- IEA Sees Dire Future For Climate, Energy Without New Technology (Wall St. Journal)
- IEA urges cuts to ballooning world fossil fuel subsidies (Reuters)
- US energy secretary: Climate debate similar to argument that smoking isn’t dangerous (Washington Post)
- Investors Worth $20 Trillion Urge Legally-Binding Climate Treaty (Environment News Service):
Hundreds of the world's largest investors, representing more than $20 trillion in assets, today encouraged governments and international policy makers to take new legally-enforceable steps to combat climate change at the upcoming UN climate summit in Durban, South Africa.
- Australia Forges Ahead With Carbon Tax:
- Australia Carbon Tax Plan Introduced By Julia Gillard (Huffington Post Green)
- Australia parliament passes divisive carbon tax (BBC News)
- Investors predict carbon tax benefits (Sydney Morning Herald)
- Australian Carbon Tax Not Too Burdensome On Energy Bills: Origin CEO (Fox Business)
- Australia unveils carbon tax (CBC News):
Australia unveils a new carbon tax that will force the country's 500 biggest polluters to pay for emissions.
- Surprise! Scientists Got It Wrong: Arctic Ice Is Melting Faster Than Predictions:
- Evidence builds that scientists underplay climate impacts (The Daily Climate) [emphasis added]:
The warnings were dire: 188 predictions showing that climate-induced changes to the environment would put 7 percent of all plant and animal species on the globe - one out of every 14 critters - at risk of extinction.
Predictions like these have earned climate scientists the obloquy from critics for being "alarmist" - dismissed for using inflated descriptions of doom and destruction to push for action, more grant money or a global government.
But as the impacts of climate change become apparent, many predictions are proving to underplay the actual impacts. Reality, in many instances, is proving to be far worse than most scientists expected.
- The Gravity of Glacial Melt (Harvard Magazine) [emphasis added]:
In 2001, Jerry Mitrovica and colleagues reported that the impact of glacial melting would not be distributed evenly around the world, because each glacier’s individual gravitational pull affects the sea level nearby. These figures show the “fingerprint” of the melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet; sites in the Northern Hemisphere would see sea levels rise more than the worldwide average. In 2009, Mitrovica’s team updated their equations to include a shift of the earth’s axis of rotation and other geological changes that would follow the glacial melt. The results show an even bleaker situation for the United States.
- Masters on “Unprecedented” Arctic Ozone Hole: Inaction Risks “Future Nasty Climate Change Surprises Far More Serious” (Climate Progress) [emphasis in original] [emphasis added]:
Dr. Jeff Masters: An unprecedented ozone hole opened in the Arctic during 2011, researchers reported this week in the journal Nature.
It is highly probable that we will see future nasty climate change surprises far more serious than the Arctic ozone hole if we continue on our present business-as-usual approach of emitting huge quantities of greenhouse gases. Humans would be wise to act forcefully to cut emissions of greenhouse gases, as the cost of inaction is highly likely to be far greater than the cost of action.
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- US solar firms file trade complaint against China (AP):
A group of seven U.S. solar panel companies filed a federal trade complaint Wednesday against Chinese companies they accuse of "dumping" solar products on global markets to depress prices.
- FDA cites dirty equipment in cantaloupe outbreak (AP):
Pools of water on the floor and old, hard-to-clean equipment at a Colorado farm's cantaloupe-packing facility were probably to blame for the deadliest outbreak of foodborne illness in 25 years, the Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday.
Government investigators found positive samples of listeria bacteria on equipment in the Jensen Farms packing facility and on fruit that had been held there.
- Rand Paul's switch clears way for pipeline bill (SF Gate):
The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a pipeline safety bill late Monday after a senator with strong Tea Party ties did an about-face - lifting a hold that had blocked the legislation for weeks and adding a provision that would close a regulatory loophole that drew widespread attention after the San Bruno disaster.
- Regulators impose limits on oil speculation (The Hill):
A divided Commodity Futures Trading Commission voted along party lines Tuesday to impose new restrictions on speculative trading in energy futures markets.
The rules, required under last year’s Dodd-Frank law, are aimed at reigning in speculative Wall Street trading that some allege has driven up oil prices and worsened market volatility in recent years.
- EPA plans new water standards for 'fracking' (The HIll):
The standards come as Republicans and industry groups are alleging that federal regulations are inhibiting the energy industry.
- Rush to Drill for Natural Gas Creates Conflicts With Mortgages (NY Times):
[B]ankers and real estate executives, especially in New York, are starting to pay closer attention to the fine print and are raising provocative questions, such as: What happens if they lend money for a piece of land that ends up storing the equivalent of an Olympic-size swimming pool filled with toxic wastewater from drilling?
Fearful of just such a possibility, some banks have become reluctant to grant mortgages on properties leased for gas drilling.
- U.S. admits limits in monitoring Cuba's offshore oil drilling (McClatchy DC):
As exploratory oil drilling is set to begin in December off the coast of Cuba, the U.S. government acknowledged Tuesday that because of chilly diplomatic relations it could have a limited ability to control the response to an oil spill there, let alone one the magnitude of last year's Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
- Drama-filled 2011 World Solar Challenge continues (Gizmag):
Four days into the 2011 World Solar Challenge and things have proven even more challenging than usual for the participants. Teams have had to contend with huge road-hogging trucks, cars catching alight and bushfires that saw the race route closed by police, leaving the top three teams cooling their heels at an unscheduled stop at the end of day two while both the vehicles and the participants recharged their batteries.
- Long Ties to Koch Brothers Key to Cain's Campaign (AP):
AFP tapped Cain as the public face of its "Prosperity Expansion Project," and he traveled the country in 2005 and 2006 speaking to activists who were starting state-based AFP chapters from Wisconsin to Virginia. Through his AFP work he met Mark Block, a longtime Wisconsin Republican operative hired to lead that state's AFP chapter in 2005 as he rebounded from an earlier campaign scandal that derailed his career.
- Climate Change is Shrinking Species, Research Suggests (NYT Green):
Climate change's laundry list of impacts --- melting glaciers and rising sea levels, shifts in timing for bird migration and flower budding, a poleward shift of species --- just got a new addition:
- David Suzuki on the Occupy Wall Street Movement (Treehugger):
Why are we rapidly exploiting finite resources and destroying precious natural systems for the sake of short-term profit and unsustainable economic growth? What will we do when oil runs out or becomes too difficult or expensive to extract if we haven't taken the time to reduce our demands for energy and shift to cleaner sources?
Why does our economic system place a higher value on disposable and often unnecessary goods and services than on the things we really need to survive and be healthy, like clean air, clean water, and productive soil? Sure, there's some contradiction
- Fox News FAIL: ‘Guns & Patriots’ Editor Creates Fake Solar Scandal About SunPower, Murdoch’s Fox News Misinformers Run With It (Climate Progress)
- Fracked Up: You Don’t Miss Your Water ‘Til Your Well Explodes (Think Progress Green):
After finding Cabot Oil & Gas Company responsible for the methane contamination of 18 domestic water wells in northeast Pennsylvania, state regulators now say the company can discontinue providing water to affected residents because it has met the terms of a legal settlement with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
Residents of Dimock began complaining of exploding water wells and discolored, foul-smelling water shortly after Cabot began drilling in August, 2008.
- Climate Change Could Trap 100s of Millions in Disaster Areas (Guardian UK):
Hundreds of millions of people may be trapped in inhospitable environments as they attempt to flee from the effects of global warming, worsening the likely death toll from severe changes to the climate, a UK government committee has found.
- VIDEO: Solar Leaf: While Tea Party Slimes Energy Progress, Innovators Build the Future (Climate Denial Crock of the Week):
It isn’t green and it doesn’t grow, but the wafer sitting in a beaker of water in Dan Nocera’s laboratory is remarkably like a leaf.
Using a silicon solar cell coated with cheap and abundant catalysts, the device uses sunlight to rip apart molecules of water, just like a photosynthesizing leaf. This produces hydrogen and oxygen gases, which bubble up on either side of the wafer (see video). The details are published today in Science.