IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Political kabuki theatre in the U.S. House over the Solyndra bankruptcy; Obama says "climate change", but only in Australia; It's official: the weather is getting weirder; PLUS: Harvesting water from the desert air... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Does government regulation really kill jobs? NO.; New federal fuel economy rules: 54mpg by 2025: CEO: "No question" new EPA rules create jobs; Defense Science Board warns of "failure to anticipate and mitigate" climate change... PLUS: VIDEO: Watch global CO2 go up and up and up ... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- It's official: the weather IS getting weirder:
- Erratic, Extreme Day-To-Day Weather Puts Climate Change in New Light (ScienceDaily):
The first climate study to focus on variations in daily weather conditions has found that day-to-day weather has grown increasingly erratic and extreme, with significant fluctuations in sunshine and rainfall affecting more than a third of the planet.
- Erratic, extreme day-to-day weather puts climate change in new light (Press release, Princeton Univ.)
- READ THE STUDY: Trends in daily solar radiation and precipitation coefficients of variation since 1984, David Medvigya, and Claudie Beaulieu [pdf] (Department of Geosciences, Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ)
- Global Temps `Virtually Certain' to Rise: UN (Bloomberg News) [emphasis added]:
The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change whirrs into action this week with a significant assessment of extreme events and disasters.
The panel says it's "virtually certain" that warm daily temperature extremes will increase in this century. It's "likely" that human influences have led to a warming of extreme daily minimum and maximum temperatures across the globe, and that instances of heavy rainfall will increase. The report finds the average maximum wind speed of hurricanes is likely to increase, though storm frequency is likely to drop or remain the same.
"Likely" or "virtually certain" imply precision in science that's generally absent from everyday speech. So when they say "virtually certain," they're using a definition of 99 to 100 percent probability. "Very likely" is 90 to 100 percent, and "likely" is 66 to 100 percent.
- NBC’s Must-See TV: “Today No One Can Deny That Extreme Weather is Here to Stay” Thanks to Fossil-Fuel Driven Warming (Climate Progress)
- Obama says "climate change", but only in Australia:
- VIDEO: Watch President Obama's News Conference with Prime Minister Gillard of Australia (White House.gov):
- Obama Says He Hopes To Eventually Reduce Carbon Pollution (Think Progress Green) [emphasis added]:
President Obama [spoke] in Canberra, Australia, where the government finally defeated conservative fossil-fuel interests to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and institute a carbon tax. “I think that’s good for the world. I actually think, over the long term, it’s good for our economies as well, because it’s my strong belief that industries, utilities, individual consumers – we’re all going to have to adapt how we use energy and how we think about carbon.”
- Obama: Cutting carbon emissions is ‘good for our economies’ (The Hill) [emphasis added]:
“As we move forward over the next several years, my hope is, is that the United States, as one of several countries with a big carbon footprint, can find further ways to reduce our carbon emissions,” Obama said in Canberra, Australia.
“I think that’s good for the world. I actually think, over the long term, it’s good for our economies as well, because it’s my strong belief that industries, utilities, individual consumers — we’re all going to have to adapt how we use energy and how we think about carbon,” Obama added.
- Political kabuki theatre in da House over the Solyndra bankruptcy
- WATCH THE HEARING: VIDEO: Energy Secretary Chu Testifies on Solyndra Loan (C-SPAN)
- VIDEO: C-SPAN's Coverage of Solyndra (C-Span.org)
- TRANSCRIPT: In Testimony to GOP's Solyndra Witchhunt, Chu Takes on the Clean Energy Defeatists (Climate Progress):
Here are some key excerpts on the clean energy race:
"When it comes to the clean energy race, America faces a simple choice: compete or accept defeat. I believe we can and must compete."
Joe Romm: It's increasingly clear who wants to compete and who wants to accept defeat.
- Solyndra hearing: Stearns says Chu has 'failed the test' (Politico) [emphasis added]:
"I think it's ultimately the president's decision," said Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.). "But ultimately there has been a legal subordination which I think has been brought up. I think the secretary is unaware of so many things that have happened that would question his financial ability and his management of very complex corporations....So I just think he has failed the test," he added.
- GOP Rep. John Fleming Claims "Solyndra Affair Has Harmed More People Than Hydrofracking" (Climate Progress)
- Over Half of All U.S. Tax Subsidies Go to Four Industries. Guess Which Ones? (Climate Progress)
- Clean Energy Has Highest Documented Rate of Return of Any Federal Program, But the WashPost Cluelessly Smears It Anyway (Climate Progress)
- World headed for irreversible climate change in five years, IEA warns: If fossil fuel infrastructure is not rapidly changed, the world will 'lose for ever' the chance to avoid dangerous climate change (Guardian UK) [emphasis added]:
The world is likely to build so many fossil-fuelled power stations, energy-guzzling factories and inefficient buildings in the next five years that it will become impossible to hold global warming to safe levels, and the last chance of combating dangerous climate change will be "lost for ever", according to the most thorough analysis yet of world energy infrastructure.
"The door is closing," Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency, said. "I am very worried - if we don't change direction now on how we use energy, we will end up beyond what scientists tell us is the minimum [for safety]. The door will be closed forever."
- Dyson Award 2011: Harvesting Water from Dry Desert Air:
- Device that harvests water from thin air wins the James Dyson Award (Gizmag):
Linacre stole this year's competition with his Airdrop irrigation concept that collects water from thin air. The Swinburne University of Technology design graduate was driven to transform an ancient cooling technique into a new sub-surface irrigation system, following the enduring Australian drought that saw high levels of farmer suicide along Australia's Murray- Darling Basin.
- VIDEO: Dyson Awards: Edward Linnacre's AirDrop Irrigation (Gizmag's YouTube channel)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Does government regulation really kill jobs? Economists say overall effect minimal. (Washington Post):
The arguing has lately turned into a brawl. In the face of the country's unemployment crisis, many politicians have portrayed regulations as the economy's primary villain.
Whenever a firm lays off workers, the bureau asks executives the biggest reason for the job cuts.
In 2010, 0.3 percent of the people who lost their jobs in layoffs were let go because of "government regulations/intervention." By comparison, 25 percent were laid off because of a drop in business demand.
- Defense Scientists Want Climate Change Intel (Discovery News) [emphasis added]:
The United States' Department of Defense needs to know more about how climate change affects global security, recommends a report by the the department's science advisers, the Defense Science Board (DSB).
"Failure to anticipate and mitigate these changes increases the threat of more failed states with the instabilities and potential for conflict inherent in such failures," the DSB co-chairs warned.
- EPA Regulations Will Create New Jobs, Says American Electric Power CEO: "No Question About That" (Think Progress Green)
- U.S. proposes to double auto fuel economy by 2025 (Reuters):
The Obama administration proposed on Wednesday doubling auto fuel efficiency to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, a White House energy priority that has come under scrutiny in Congress.
- U.S. probes EV batteries after Chevy Volt fire (Reuters)
- Wind Electricity To Be Fully Competitive With Natural Gas by 2016, Says Bloomberg New Energy Finance (Think Progress Green)
- Green group accuses China of climate blackmail (Guardian UK):
The row over hydrofluorocarbon-23 offsets has intensified before international climate negotiations in Durban this month.
- Methane May Be Answer to 56-Million-Year Question: Ocean Could Have Contained Enough Methane to Cause Drastic Climate Change (Science Daily):
The release of massive amounts of carbon from methane hydrate frozen under the seafloor 56 million years ago has been linked to the greatest change in global climate since a dinosaur-killing asteroid presumably hit Earth 9 million years earlier. New calculations by researchers at Rice University show that this long-controversial scenario is quite possible.
- CO2 on the Up and Up (NYT Dot Earth):
When all greenhouse gases are considered together, the agency calculates that the human contribution to the global greenhouse effect has increased 29 percent since 1990.
Of course that still leaves big questions unanswered – including the multi-trillion-dollar question: how sensitive is the climate system to this “forcing”? The durably wide range still goes from catastrophe to substantial, but manageable, risk.
- VIDEO ANIMATION: Time history of atmospheric CO2 (NOAA Carbon Tracker YouTube channel):