IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Triumph of propaganda over truth: D.C.'s King of the Deniers, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OIL) takes a victory lap; Deadlock at Durban? Final days of the UN Climate Conference in S. Africa; 2011 breaks its own record for weather disasters; PLUS: GOP threatens to take another hostage to push the Keystone XL pipeline ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Must-reads: "The Brutal Logic of Climate Change" and "The Brutal Logic of Climate Change Mitigation"; EPA finds natural gas 'fracking' contaminated WY drinking water; Coal company put 'profits over people' in mining disaster; $4 billion for energy efficiency retrofits; GOP Jon Hntsman flip-flop-flips on climate denial; 1st floating wind turbine deployed in Atlantic ... PLUS: See for yourself: Time history of atmospheric CO2 ... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Koch Brothers' Tea Party Front Group and the King of the Deniers, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Oil) Claim Victory in Climate Disinformation:
- VIDEO: 16,000 People Ignore Jim Inhofe's Lame Video Message, in Which He Claims Durban Talks Are "Being Ignored" (Climate Progress):
here on the ground at the climate talks in Durban, South Africa, I tried to find a single person who had heard about Inhofe's video speech. I still haven't found one person who knew or cared - if they even knew who he was at all.
- Inhofe: Calling Climate Change 'The Greatest Hoax Ever' Is 'Doing The Lord's Work' (Think Progress Green)
- Heads in the Sand: Warning: "Climate change is occurring … and poses significant risks to humans and the environment," reports the National Academy of Sciences. As climate-change science moves in one direction, Republicans in Congress are moving in another. Why?
(National Journal) [emphasis added]:Among the most influential of the new breed of so-called super PACs is the tea party group Americans for Prosperity, founded by David and Charles Koch, the principal owners of Koch Industries, a major U.S. oil conglomerate.
Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, says there's no question that the influence of his group and others like it has been instrumental in the rise of Republican candidates who question or deny climate science. "If you look at where the situation was three years ago and where it is today, there's been a dramatic turnaround. Most of these candidates have figured out that the science has become political," he said.
Groups like Americans for Prosperity have done it."
- Koch-Fueled Americans for Prosperity Takes Credit for Bullying GOP Lawmakers into Climate Denial (Think Progress)
- Australian Green Party Leader: U.S. Climate Denial Machine "Being Directed Straight into Australia" Via Murdoch's News Corp (Think Progress Green)
- Jon Huntsman: I'm Back On The Side Of Science [But We Shouldn't Do Anything About Catastrophic Global Warming] (Talking Points Memo)
- VIDEO: Gore Is 'Sorry' About Newt's Climate Betrayal, Says He's Been 'Bludgeoned' By Special Interests (Current TV, via Think Progress Green)
- VIDEO: Newt In 2008: We Should Lower Carbon Because It's Conservative To Avoid 'Stupid Risks' (Think Progress Green)
- 2011 Breaks Own Records for Record Weather Disasters:
- Extreme Weather 2011: Billion-Dollar Catastrophes Smash US Record: (AP):
America smashed the record for billion-dollar weather disasters this year with a deadly dozen - and counting.
With an almost biblical onslaught of twisters, floods, snow, drought, heat and wildfire, the U.S. in 2011 has seen more weather catastrophes that caused at least $1 billion in damage than it did in all of the 1980s, even after the dollar figures from back then are adjusted for inflation.
- NOAA Chief Wants Nation "Weather-Ready" for More Extreme Events: Fifty-two billion dollars and counting, one thousand deaths - double the yearly average - from 12 extreme weather events in 2011 alone. (KQED):
I think that people have to appreciate how very bizarre the weather has been this year," [NOAA Administrator Jane] Lubchenco told us in an interview following her keynote presentation. "And it's pretty clear that for some of those events like heat waves, droughts, really big intensive rainfall events - those we can connect the dots to climate change pretty convincingly."
- 2011 saw record number of high-cost weather disasters: The U.S. experienced a dozen natural disasters that each caused at least $1 billion in damages this year. (LA Times)
- NOAA: Autumn and November both warmer than average in the United States (NOAA)
- 'Predicting and Managing Extreme Events': Remarks by Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans & Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator, American Geophysical Union Annual Meeting (NOAA)
- Arctic Methane Time Bomb in 2023: Via Twitter: @kitstolz Kit Stolz: "Kevin Schaefer: it's kind of a depressing thought, but we are going to hit the permafrost tipping point at 2023, no matter what we do.#AGU11" (at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union)
- GOP Threatens to Take Another Hostage Over Keystone XL; Obama Threatens Veto:
- Obama threatens payroll tax veto over Keystone provision (Los Angeles Times)
- COP17: the 17th Annual Conference of Parties at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, in Durban, S. Africa
- Live Streaming & On-Demand: VIDEO of the UN Climate Conference: (United Nations):
The United Nations Climate Change Conference, Durban 2011, will bring together representatives of the world's governments, international organizations and civil society. The discussions will seek to advance, in a balanced fashion, the implementation of the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol, as well as the Bali Action Plan, agreed at COP 13 in 2007, and the Cancun Agreements, reached at COP 16 last December.
- LIVE Interactive Coverage of the UN Climate Talks from Durban, S. Africa: (OneClimate)
- A Practical Guide to DURBAN CoP 17 (Climate Himalaya)
- A User's Guide To The Climate Change Talks (NPR)
- Full Durban Coverage at The Scotsman: Durban climate blog (The Scotsman)
- Think Progress Full Coverage of the UN Climate Conference (Think Progress)
- UPDATE on COP17: the 17th Annual Conference of Parties at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, in Durban, S. Africa:
- VIDEO: "I'm Scared for My Future": Student Disrupts Speech by U.S. Climate Envoy Todd Stern in Durban (Democracy Now!)
- US Climate Envoy Todd Stern: Staying Below The 2°C Threshold Is Just A 'Guidepost' (Think Progress Green) [emphasis added]:
I think that we look at two degrees as an important and serious goal which ought to guide what we do, which ought to guide the action that we take in order to try and attain it. That is - so it's important, it's serious, and it's a guidepost I would say. That is still different from looking at it as an operational cap that you must meet, and that if you, you know, see yourself off of it based on science, then you have some kind of mandatory obligation to change what you're doing, whether you're in the United States, or Europe, or China, wherever you might be.
- 'Do not disappoint citizens of the globe' (Cape Times)
- US Youth Steal the Show at the UN Climate Talks in Durban (Treehugger)
- European Union: Deferred deal may save COP17 (UK Daily Mail):
One proposal suggested by the European Union's top climate diplomat, Connie Hedegaard, earlier this month would see COP17 parties agreeing to a road map that would provide mandates for different countries up to 2015.
- A gust of Chinese hot air (The Economist):
"Minister Xie spoke warmly about the need for a legally binding deal. Does that then mean that China will also be legally bound?" asked Connie Hedegaard, the EU's climate commissioner, on Twitter. "Sometimes messages are more progressive at public press conferences than in negotiation rooms."
- Top UN Climate Official Blasts U.S. Climate Policy: Americans Must Realize "This Is Their Future They're Compromising" (Think Progress Green):
[The] U.S. population needs to understand that this is not just their historical responsibility, but this is their future that they're compromising. And when that awareness is raised, then I think the government will make more ambitious decisions. I think there's no public pressure in the United States to take any more ambitious decision."
- U.S. 2020 climate treaty proposal isn't a delay-it's a death sentence (Grist)
- Chart: World Avoids Disruptive Carbon Emissions Cuts By Acting Now (Think Progress Green):
If the world delays until 2020 to respect the established 2-degree limit in global warming, as appears to be the growing consensus at the Durban climate change talks, emissions cuts will much more disruptive than if sufficient action is taken now, an analysis by Climate Interactive finds
- Qatar Wins Bid To Host 2012 Climate Talks (Guardian UK)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Part 1: The brutal logic of climate change (David Roberts, Grist) [emphasis added]:
[L]ots of folks in the climate hawk coalition (broadly speaking) have counseled a new approach that backgrounds climate change and refocuses the discussion on innovation, energy security, and economic competitiveness.
This cannot work. At least it cannot work if we hope to avoid terrible consequences. Why not? It's simple: If there is to be any hope of avoiding civilization-threatening climate disruption, the U.S. and other nations must act immediately and aggressively on an unprecedented scale. That means moving to emergency footing. War footing. "Hitler is on the march and our survival is at stake" footing. That simply won't be possible unless a critical mass of people are on board. It's not the kind of thing you can sneak in incrementally.
It is unpleasant to talk like this. People don't want to hear it.
- Part 2: The brutal logic of climate change mitigation (David Roberts, Grist) [emphasis added]:
Like I said, go ahead and pour yourself a stiff drink.
So, what does this grim situation say about our current climate policy efforts? The paper also contains some important insights on that front.
- EPA pollution finding shakes up 'fracking' debate (The Hill's E2 Wire):
A preliminary Environmental Protection Agency report on apparent groundwater contamination in Wyoming from the gas drilling method called hydraulic fracturing could shake up the battle over federal regulation of the practice.
- First Floating Offshore Wind Turbine Deployed in Atlantic Ocean (Treehugger)
- Obama, Clinton together again, pitching efficiency (AP) [emphasis added]:
The unusual pairing of Obama and the popular former president [Bill Clinton] was aimed at drawing attention to a $4 billion administration initiative aimed at achieving fuel savings and more employment at no increased cost to taxpayers. Obama said the program was a cheap way to help create jobs, save money and cut down on pollution.
"It is a trifecta," he said.
- 29 Deaths at WV Mine "Entirely Preventable", MSHA Says (Charleston Gazette) [emphasis added]:
Federal regulators on Tuesday blamed the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster on "a workplace culture that valued production over safety," and prosecutors said a record $200 million settlement could set the stage for broad industry reforms.
- Scientific Panel Finds Few Clear Environmental Links to Breast Cancer (NY Times)
- Health Fears, Distrust Spur Chinese To Lift Gov't Fog on Pollution Data (Washington Post) [emphasis added]:
Armed with a device that looks like an old transistor radio, some Beijing residents are recording pollution levels and posting them online. It's an act that borders on subversion.
- Media Ignore Bloomberg Report Undermining Their Solyndra Hype: "The Focus on Solyndra Is Not Proportional to Its Impact" (Climate Progress)
- Range Fuels Celluslosic Ethanol Plant Fails, US Pulls Plug: (Bloomberg News, via SEJ.org):
Range Fuels Inc., a cellulosic ethanol company backed by as much as $156 million in U.S. loans and grants from President George W. Bush's administration, is being forced by the government to liquidate its only factory after failing to produce the fuel.
- No snow, no ski: warmest weather in 50 years hits French Alps (Weather Network)
- Carbon Emissions Show Biggest Jump Ever Recorded (NY Times) [emphasis added]:
The increase solidified a trend of ever-rising emissions that scientists fear will make it difficult, if not impossible, to forestall severe climate change in coming decades.
- Three-Quarters of Climate Change Is Man-Made (Nature News)
- New estimate boosts permafrost contribution to climate change (Fairbanks Daily News Miner) [emphasis added]:
An international group of researchers believes greenhouse gases from thawing permafrost will be released at a much faster rate than previously estimated, which could have significant implications for climate change projections.
- New Flame Retardant Contamination Levels Rising Rapidly in Great Lakes: (Chemical & Engineering News, via SEJ.org):
Created to replace older chemicals thought to pose an environmental threat, new flame retardants have become widespread in the air near the Great Lakes, according to a new report. ... Air concentrations of the brominated chemicals doubled every 13 months in recent years in Cleveland and Chicago.
- Radiation Traces Found in Japanese Baby Formula (AP)
- Essential Climate Science Findings:
- VIDEO ANIMATION: Time history of atmospheric CO2 (NOAA Carbon Tracker YouTube channel):
- Skeptical Science: Get the FULL DEBUNKING of All Climate Science Denier Arguments
- 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."
- Concise Overview: The IPCC report on extreme climate and weather events (Real Climate)
- READ the IPCC Report: Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)
- 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)