IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: It's no trick! BP gets a treat, as the Obama Admin approves their application for deep-water drilling in the Gulf; More record flooding overwhelms Bangkok; World population to hit 7 billion by Halloween; PLUS: The War on Halloween vs. Greening up yours! ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Climate change making U.S. water problems worse; Asia, Africa 'megacities' most at risk from climate change; China aims to dominate U.S. in smart grid investments just as it has with renewables; Fukushima: Fallout forensics hike radiation toll; U.S. to study cancer risks near nuclear sites... PLUS: much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Mass Evacuations As More Record Floods Inundate Bangkok:
- Photos: Bangkok Underwater (The Atlantic):
The Chao Phraya river is predicted to overflow its banks in the city sometime today, and authorities say that if the protective dikes fail to hold the water, all parts of Bangkok will be vulnerable to the floodwater.
- VIDEO: Thailand floods cause havoc (Al Jazeera English, YouTube)
- Asia pays watery price for overdevelopment (AP) [emphasis added]:
Like most of monsoon-swept Asia, the city and its environs have experienced periodic floods since it was founded more than two centuries ago. But recent decades have witnessed dramatic changes — from intense urbanization to rising waters blamed on climate change — that are turning once burdensome but bearable events into national crises.
The concentration of national resources and wealth means even smaller disasters can have a big impact.
- Threatening floodwaters close in on Thai capital (CBS News)
- Thailand calls holiday to allow escape from floods (Reuters)
- BP's Life Back to Normal: BP Gets Obama Admin OK to Drill in Gulf Again
- BP wins approval for new deep-water drilling in Gulf of Mexico (McClatchy DC) [emphasis added]:
The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said that BP met more stringent safety requirements devised by the federal government in the aftermath of the disaster. The company also planned to follow even tougher voluntary standards that exceeded the government's rules.
"This permit was approved only after thorough well design, blowout preventer and containment capability reviews," said bureau director Michael R. Bromwich.
At more than 6,000 feet, the proposed well would be in deeper water than the Macondo well.
- Interior rebuffs call to bar BP from lease sale (The Hill)
- Gulf spill fund chief tells lawmakers to blame him for problems, not Obama (The Hill)
- Feinberg to increase payments to Gulf shrimpers hit hard by oil spill (The Hill)
- Fox Downplays Huge Profits Of Big Oil (Media Matters.org):
BP announced its third quarter earnings yesterday --- more than double its profits at the same time last year. With this week's earnings reports we are learning, once again, that the major oil companies continue raking in tens of billions of dollars in what the Wall Street Journal called "soaring profits," while receiving billions more in tax subsidies. Meanwhile, Fox is downplaying oil profits.
- EU Seeks Stricter Offshore Oil Rules After Spill, Extends Liability Zone
- Obama Saves the Grand Canyon --- For Now:
- Obama to block new uranium-mine claims near Grand Canyon (McClatchy DC) [emphasis added]:
The decision withdraws a right to Western public lands that mining companies otherwise would have under the 1872 Mining Law.
BLM director Bob Abbey said..."The Grand Canyon is an iconic place for all Americans and visitors from around the world," Abbey said in a statement. "Uranium remains an important part of our nation's comprehensive energy resources, but it is appropriate to pause, identify what the predicted level of mining and its impacts on the Grand Canyon would be, and decide what level of risk is acceptable to take with this national treasure."
The nation's 139-year-old mining law gives companies automatic access to most public land in the West and allows them to mine for uranium, gold and other minerals without paying royalties.
- 'Unearthly' Beauty Tops Jobs: Obama Freezes Mining Near Grand Canyon (Christian Science Monitor)
- Congressman Asks Companies To ‘Open Their Books to Public Scrutiny’ About Profits Made Off Public Lands (Think Progress Green)
- World Population To Hit 7 Billion by Halloween
- World Population Jumps to Seven Billion (Environment News Service):
How we respond now will determine whether we have a future marked by environmental decline, inequalities and economic setbacks or a healthy, sustainable and prosperous future, says the UN Population Fund in its report, "People and Possibilities in a World of 7 Billion."
The seven billion mark "is a challenge, an opportunity and a call to action," said UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin at the report's launch in London. "Today's milestone is a reminder that we must act now."
- Is the environmental crisis caused by the 7 billion or the 1%? (Grist) [emphasis added]:
But most of the 7 billion are not endangering the earth. The majority of the world's people don't destroy forests, don't wipe out endangered species, don't pollute rivers and oceans, and emit essentially no greenhouse gases.
Even in the rich countries of the Global North, most environmental destruction is caused not by individuals or households, but by mines, factories, and power plants run by corporations that care more about profit than about humanity's survival.
Ironically, while populationist groups focus attention on the 7 billion, protestors in the worldwide Occupy movement have identified the real source of environmental destruction: not the 7 billion, but the 1%, the handful of millionaires and billionaires who own more, consume more, control more, and destroy more than all the rest of us put together.
[T]he United Nations found that just 3,000 corporations cause $2.15 trillion in environmental damage every year. Outrageous as that figure is --- only six countries have a GDP greater than $2.15 trillion --- it substantially understates the damage...
- Population of world 'could grow to 15bn by 2100': Nearly 7 billion people now inhabit planet but projections that number will double this century have shocked academics (Guardian UK)
- VIDEO: World population to hit 10 bln, but 15 bln possible: UN press conference: The world's population of seven billion is set to rise to at least 10 billion by 2100, but could top 15 billion if birth rates are just slightly higher than expected, the United Nations said on Wednesday. (UN Population Fund):
- 'Risk Atlas' assesses climate vulnerability (CNN):
Some of the world's fastest growing population centers in Asia and Africa are at greatest risk from the impact of climate change, according to a new report.
The Climate Change Vulnerability Index (CCVI), published by UK-based risk analysis and mapping company Maplecroft, examined the climate risks and adaptive capacity of 193 nations factoring in population concentration, development, natural resources, agricultural dependency and conflict.
- UN: World Will Miss Economic Benefit of 1.8 Billion Young People (Guardian)
- The Planet Will House 10 Billion People, and We Can Feed Them All (GOOD Magazine)
- GREEN Your Halloween VS. the WAR on Halloween!:
- VIDEO: War on Halloween - Costume Swapping & Jesus Ween:
Planet huggers turn America's Almond Joy into almond shame, and a Christian group in Texas hands out Bibles instead of candy (Colbert Report, Comedy Central):
- Scare trade: Halloween candy you can feel good about (Grist.org):
About half of the chocolate eaten in the U.S. comes from the Ivory Coast, where documented instances of forced child labor on cocoa farms persist despite a decade of pressure on chocolate companies to implement better oversight. And because corporations like Hershey's (which has recently been found to be exploiting workers here in the U.S., too) and Cadbury manufacture their products using beans from all over the world that get mixed together, it's highly likely that any chocolate bar you unwrap is made with at least some cacao grown by underage workers with little in the way of rights or compensation.
- READ the Report: Stop Chocolate Slavery (Knight-Ridder News Service, 2001):
Forty-three percent of the world's cocoa beans, the raw material in chocolate, come from small, scattered farms in this poor West African country. And on some of the farms, the hot, hard work of clearing the fields and harvesting the fruit is done by boys who were sold or tricked into slavery. Most of them are between the ages of 12 and 16. Some are as young as 9.
Americans spend $13 billion a year on chocolate, but most of them are as ignorant of where it comes from as the boys who harvest cocoa beans are about where their beans go.
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|War on Halloween - Costume Swapping & Jesus Ween|
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Climate change making country's water problems worse: expert (Reuters):
Climate change and population growth in the United States will make having enough fresh water more challenging in the coming years, an expert on water shortages said on Wednesday.
"In 1985-1986 there were historical (water level) highs and now in less than 25 years we are at historical lows. Those sorts of swings are very scary," said Robert Glennon, speaking at the State of the Lakes Ecosystem Conference in Erie, Pennsylvania.
- Asia, Africa Megacities Top Climate Change Risk Survey: (Reuters):
"Rapidly growing megacities in Africa and Asia face the highest risks from rising sea levels, floods and other climate change impacts, says a global survey aimed at guiding city planners and investors.
- China Aims to Dominate U.S. in Smart Grid Investments Just As It Has With Renewables (Climate Progress)
- China Urges Way Out Of 'Deadlock' In Durban Climate Talks (Reuters)
- Fukushima: Fallout Forensics Hike Radiation Toll (Nature News):
The disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in March released far more radiation than the Japanese government has claimed. So concludes a study that combines radioactivity data from across the globe to estimate the scale and fate of emissions from the shattered plant.
- U.S. To Study Cancer Risks Near Nuclear Sites (USA Today)
- CA Attorney General to Sue Plastic Bottle Companies Over 'Biodegradable' Claim (San Jose Mercury News):
In a move that could have a major effect on the recycling industry, California Attorney General Kamala Harris will sue three national companies that make plastic bottles or sell bottled water in California, contending that they illegally claim their bottles are 'biodegradable.'"
- Keystone XL Pipeline: Obama Says His Administration Has Made No Decision On Project (Huffington Post Green)
- Oil Jumps Above $92 After Europe Debt Plan (AP):
Oil prices jumped above $92 a barrel Thursday in Asia after European leaders agreed on a plan to reduce Greece's debt burden.
- Greenland Ice Sheet “Could Undergo a Self-Amplifying Cycle of Melting and Warming … Difficult to Halt,” Scientists Find (Climate Progress):
The Greenland ice sheet can experience extreme melting even when temperatures don’t hit record highs, according to a new analysis by Dr. Marco Tedesco, assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at The City College of New York. His findings suggest that glaciers could undergo a self-amplifying cycle of melting and warming that would be difficult to halt.
“We are finding that even if you don’t have record-breaking highs, as long as warm temperatures persist you can get record-breaking melting because of positive feedback mechanisms,” said Professor Tedesco, who directs CCNY’s Cryospheric Processes Laboratory….
- If Republicans Try To Manufacture A Clean Energy Scandal With Fisker, These Letters May Haunt Them (Think Progress):
Republicans exaggerated and misconstrued the controversy over Solyndra, a failed solar company that received a subsidized loan (originating from the Bush administration), to call to cutting all clean energy loan programs.
But before Republicans turn on the right-wing echo chamber to twist the Fisker story into some sort of case of wrongdoing, they should consider this ThinkProgress report about GOP lawmakers who have requested the same type of clean energy loans. According to the report, at least 62 requested green energy subsidies from the Obama administration. Both the Indiana and Louisina Republican delegations requested taxpayer money for energy efficient start-up car companies — using the same type of program obtained by Fisker Automotive.
- Not the Hindenberg: Solar airship is most efficient way to fly, ever (Grist):
How can you carry huge amounts of cargo thousands of miles with no fuel and no infrastructure? By combining an airship with an airplane, of course. The resulting wing-shaped blimp requires less helium than a conventional dirigible, but has a shorter takeoff than an airplane. Hybrid Air Vehicles has been proposing this for years, but upstart Solar Ship has taken the additional step of designing a craft that can be powered entirely by the sun.
- Shell’s Sketchy Arctic Spill Plan (Think Progress Green):
Shell’s plan to clean up an oil spill in waters completely covered by sea ice nine months of the year (and partially covered the other three months) — in an environment where temperatures plunge well below zero, there is no sunlight and where more often than not, hurricane force winds cause icebergs the size of apartment buildings to move at 40 mph. The Arctic gives foreboding a new zip code.
- Ex-Upper Big Branch security director found guilty (Charleston Gazette):
An independent investigation, a union probe and preliminary findings of the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration have blamed the explosion on Massey's failure to maintain mining equipment, provide adequate underground ventilation and properly clean up explosive coal dust from mine tunnels.
During closing statements Wednesday morning, Assistant U.S. Attorney Blaire Malkin said the evidence clearly showed Stover falsely told investigators that his guards did not announce the arrival of government inspectors at the mine. Malkin said Stover then directed a subordinate to destroy documents that would reveal his lie.
- UMW calls Massey disaster 'industrial homicide' (Charleston Gazette)
- Climate Deniers Still Not Happy With Koch-Funded Climate Study (Think Progress):
The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature team released a study showing that the earth’s surface has warmed 1 degree Centigrade (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) since 1950, with the hopes that the study would address the critiques of climate deniers who continue to insist that the earth is not warming.
Even Richard Muller, Berkeley Earth’s scientific director who was notorious for not believing the conventional wisdom about climate change, said this study confirms global warming.
- Go Solar With Solar Roof Shingles (Clean Technica):
Dow Solar company has started mass marketing solar shingles. Solar shingles are roof shingles with solar cells (electricity generating material) integrated into them, so the shingles are the solar panels. The solar shingles plug into each other and help to hold each other down very securely during strong winds.
The solar shingles can only be stolen by first unplugging those at the edge of the array and then working your way inwards, which means that securing the edge only will actually secure the entire solar panel array from thieves.