IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: White House wins GOP Keystone XL pipeline game - for now; Perry's Texas tough-guy talk on EPA fails; Snowmageddon in Seattle; Snow No-show in California; PLUS: Climate change, now with slightly less apocalypse! ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): TX to unlock secrets of fracking; 'No evidence' that Wind Turbine Syndrome exists; Bush speechwriter slams 'culture war' over climate change; Should we only have rules coal lobbyists agree to?; Bat deaths a catastrophe in the making; New mileage standards save money immediately; Coral reef disease hits Hawaii; Breakthrough material 'eats' CO2 in the air ... PLUS: 5 myths about the Keystone XL pipeline ... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- White House Wins GOP's Keystone XL Pipeline Game - For Now:
- Obama administration rejects Keystone XL pipeline (Washington Post) [emphasis added]:
“This announcement is not a judgment on the merits of the pipeline, but the arbitrary nature of a deadline that prevented the State Department from gathering the information necessary to approve the project and protect the American people,” the president said in a statement.
- Keystone XL is dead for now. What’s next? (Washington Post)
- In Rejection Letter, State Department Concludes Purported Keystone XL Benefits Are Myths (Think Progress Green)
- VIDEO: Responding To Koch Attacks, First Obama Campaign Ad Hits ‘Secretive Oil Billionaires’ (Think Progress Green)
- Bill McKibben, the man who crushed the Keystone XL pipeline (Boston Globe)
- Bill McKibben: Obama’s Denial of Keystone Permit Was a Welcome Win Against Big Oil (The Daily Beast)
- TransCanada Hopes to Stick to 2014 Timeline (Calgary Herald)
- Canada Disappointed Over Pipeline Rejection (AP)
- Obama’s Rejection of Keystone Pipeline Sets Up Campaign Battle (Bloomberg)
- Business Groups, Republicans Launch Onslaught on President Over Keystone (The Hill's E2 Wire)
- No Keystone Pipeline, No Problem: 'I Am Very Serious About Selling Our Oil Off This Continent,' Stephen Harper Says (National Post Canada)
- Keystone XL Delay Raises Gateway Profile (Edmonton Journal):
The delay of the Keystone XL pipeline has renewed calls to make the Northern Gateway pipeline from Alberta's oil sands to the B.C. coast a Canadian national imperative.
- EPA Urged to Disregard Oil Sands Emissions in Keystone Decision: Letters (Postmedia News)
- In Montana, a Rough Road for Oil Sands Equipment (Reuters)
- MORE FACTS on the Keystone XL Pipeline:
- VIDEO: Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline is Not a Jobs Plan, But an Oil Export Plan (NRDC via Think Progress Green)
- New Study To Probe Corrosiveness Of Canada Oil (Reuters)
- Few Keystone XL Jobs Would Go to Residents on Pipeline Route: Unemployment is below the national average along most of the route, so few local workers would be available. (InsideClimate News)
- Oil and Gas Jobs Increased by 75,000 Under Obama - 69,000 More Than Would Be Created By Keystone XL (Climate Progress)
- Big Oil’s Money Trail to Congress Looms Large for Keystone (Climate Central)
- AFL-CIO Head Rich Trumka: ‘Congress Is Effectively Controlled By Climate Change Deniers’ (Think Progress Green):
Speaking at the 2012 United Nations Investor Summit on Climate Risk & Energy Solutions, AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka blasted climate deniers in Congress for threatening the free enterprise system and the future of civilization. Trumka began his speech laying out the stark challenge of global warming: a “stable climate is the foundation of our global civilization,” and thus “the prerequisite for a profitable investment environment.”
- Keystone Inspector Alleges Shoddy Work on Original Pipeline (Canadian Press)
- Snow-mageddon in Seattle, No Show Snow in California:
- Power out, snowfall records smashed in Seattle (Reuters):
A historic snow and ice storm paralyzed Seattle on Thursday, shutting the airport and schools, causing car crashes, downing trees and cutting power to at least 90,000 households as blown-out transformers lit up the skies.
- Seattle faces unusually strong snowfall (Reuters)
- As snow storm turns to ice storm, residents urged to stay home (Vashon, WA Beachcomber)
- Yosemite's Tioga Road finally closes in advance of snow (Seattle Times):
On Tuesday, snowpack in the Sierra Nevada was a mere 11 percent of normal for mid-January. The bone-dry weather not only has hammered Lake Tahoe ski resorts but also made state water officials who depend on spring runoff nervous — to say nothing of transforming Yosemite.
- Skiers: Where snow is (Canada, Taos) and isn't (Sierra, Tahoe) (LA Times)
- Climate Change: Now With Slightly Less Apocalypse!:
- Scientists Say Cut Soot, Methane to Curb Warming (AP):
Carbon dioxide is the chief greenhouse gas and the one world leaders have spent the most time talking about controlling. Scientists say carbon dioxide from fossil fuels like coal and oil is a bigger overall cause of global warming, but reducing methane and soot offers quicker fixes.
- How to tackle the climate, health and food crises, all at the same time (Guardian UK):
Reducing the soot pumped out by cars and cooking fires and the methane from coal mines and oil wells would rapidly curb global warming, prevent air pollution deaths and boost crop yields
From coal mines to rice paddies and cooking fires to diesel exhausts, 14 highly cost-effective measures could quickly curb global warming and save millions of lives, while also boosting global food production. That is the striking conclusion of a new study published in Science and the most authoritative look yet at the opportunities offered in tackling methane and black carbon - soot - pollution.
The headline findings are striking.
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- 5 myths about the Keystone XL pipeline (Washington Post)
- Bush Speechwriter: Culture war over climate change unnecessary (Michael Gerson op-ed, San Antonio Express-News):
But any rational approach requires some distance between science and ideology. The extraction and burning of dead plant matter is not a moral good — or the proper cause for a culture war.
- Should we only have rules coal lobbyists agree to? (Coal Tattoo) [emphasis added]:
Delegate Caputo’s comments highlight what appears to me to be an increasing trend, in which political leaders don’t want to tackle tough issues at the statehouse before first making sure that a powerful industry isn’t going to derail their efforts. This happened here in West Virginia with last month’s special session on natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale. The governor’s office has said it hasn’t finalized its mine safety bill because it was still talking with industry lobbyists about it, to ensure there was consensus support for it.
- In Bat Deaths, a Catastrophe in the Making? (NYT Green):
The new numbers are striking, and far higher than the previous bat mortality estimate of one million released in 2009, yet it is hard to put the number into perspective because researchers lack baseline data for many bat species populations from before the disease started demolishing colonies.
- Consumer Reports: New 54.5 mpg standards will save car owners money immediately (Consumer Reports):
Cars that get 54 mpg will bring consumers immediate savings, despite their higher costs. That’s the message from a joint news conference held today by Consumers Union, the consumer advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, along with the Consumer Federation of America (CFA).
- A Buffet of Canny Tweaks in Hot Pursuit of Mileage (NY Times)
- Coral Reef Disease Hits Hawaii (US Geological Survey):
Scientists have discovered an outbreak of coral disease called Montipora White Syndrome in Ka-ne?ohe Bay, O?ahu. The affected coral are of the species Montipora capitata, also known as rice coral.
Thus, loss of corals can have negative effects on many other reef-associated organisms. In fact, losing a coral reef is similar to losing a rainforest, with many species reliant on that ecosystem for survival.
- Leading Global Investors Call the False Dichotomy Between Economy and Environment “Nonsense” (Climate Progress):
A top GE executive is calling the political battle between economy and environment “nonsense.”
- Natural Gas Falls to 10-Year Low as Mild Weather Boosts Surplus (Bloomberg News):
"We are really seeing the worst of all possible worlds," said Peter Buchanan, senior economist at CIBC World Markets Inc. in Toronto. "What we are looking at is storage levels will remain very high through the summer or the fall."
- There is “No Evidence” that Wind Turbine Syndrome Exists, Concludes Expert Panel (Climate Progress):
A new study released this week by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection finds that “there is no evidence for a set of health effects…that could be characterized as ‘Wind Turbine Syndrome.’” The supposed health impacts pushed by wind opponents include mental health problems, heart disease and vertigo.
- Anti-whaling activists clash with Japan harpoon ship (Reuters):
Japanese whalers and protesters clashed on Wednesday in the Southern Ocean, with activists saying three of their crew were injured by grappling hooks and a bamboo pole and Japan claiming the anti-whalers tried to cut ropes and tangle propellers.
- Pollution hits Hong Kong health, economy (CNN Business):
[T]he statistics are compelling. The Hong Kong University School of Public Health has just unveiled a new real-time cost of pollution index. According to new research from the university and local think tank Civic Exchange, there are 3,200 avoidable deaths a year in Hong Kong due to air pollution - more than three times higher than previous estimates.
- Clean Cookstoves Could Save 'A Million Lives' (Earth & Industry News):
"We are on a collision course and we cannot continue in the old way otherwise we are toast," [US physicist Dr. Ashok] Gadgil said.
Citing the one million annual deaths attributed to unsafe indoor cookstoves, Gadgil said the money would be invested back into the clean cookstoves project. Traditional cookstoves, he explained, which burn biomass and animal dung not only pose a major health threat, particularly to the women and children closest to the stoves as they burn indoors, in the case of wood, they also pose a major threat to the health of global forests.
- Sec. Salazar, Gov. Brown Expand Partnership to Expedite Renewable Energy Projects in California (Highland Community News):
“Now that our successful partnership has demonstrated that advancing renewable energy projects in California can be done, and can done in the right way, it is essential to ensure that transmission facilities to get this power to market are also part of the equation,” said Secretary Salazar. “As part of today’s agreement, which will expand our partnership on renewable energy, Interior and California will identify needed transmission projects to track, troubleshoot and shepherd. What’s happening in California is nothing short of a revolution – clean energy is creating jobs, powering our economies, and making believers out skeptics.”
- What will we do about coal’s ‘crisis in the making’? (Coal Tatoo):
[It's] a “crisis in the making” in Boone County, where coal is such a big part of the economy, yet good coal seams are playing out and competition from other regions threatens future production levels.
- Scientists link mass death of British bees to farm pesticides (The Scotland Herald):
Nicotine-based pesticides in widespread use by farmers are implicated in the mass deaths of bees, according to a new study by US scientists.
The authoritative, peer-reviewed research undermines the pesticide industry's long-repeated arguments that bees are not being harmed, and piles pressure on UK and US authorities to follow other countries by introducing bans on the chemicals.
- New Readily Available And Inexpensive Material Could Remove Carbon Dioxide From Atmosphere At Unprecedented Rate (Think Progress Green):
Scientists have discovered a potentially groundbreaking new weapon in the fight against excessive atmospheric carbon dioxide. According to Science Daily, a group of scientists including chemistry Nobel Laureate George A. Olah have found that polyethylenimine, a common and inexpensive material, can be used to achieve "some of the highest carbon dioxide removal rates ever reported for humid air, under conditions that stymie other related materials."
- Unlocking the Secrets Behind Hydraulic Fracturing (NY Times):
Starting Feb. 1, drilling operators in Texas will have to report many of the chemicals used in the process known as hydraulic fracturing. Environmentalists and landowners are looking forward to learning what acids, hydroxides and other materials have gone into a given well.
But a less-publicized part of the new regulation is what some experts are most interested in: the mandatory disclosure of the amount of water needed to “frack” each well. Experts call this an invaluable tool as they evaluate how fracking affects water supplies in the drought-prone state.
- Helping Teachers Stand Up for Science (NYT Green):
The National Center for Science Education, a nonprofit group in Oakland, Calif., monitors legislation and local school board actions that are potentially threatening to the teaching of evolution. It also acts as a resource and adviser for science teachers who encounter problems with students, parents or supervisors on the issue. Climate change educators had no similarly devoted resource — until now.
On Monday, the center announced that it was putting climate change under its umbrella as well.
- American Petroleum Institute's Scientific Director Questions ‘Any Effect At All’ From Greenhouse Pollution (Think Progress Green)
- Cow manure to power new King County plant (MyNorthwest.com):
One of the biggest problems facing dairies trying to stay alive in rural King County is what to do with all the cow manure. But this week, construction began on a new plant in Enumclaw that will convert manure into electricity, cutting environmental costs and helping reduce emissions.
- VIDEO ANIMATION: Time history of atmospheric CO2 (NOAA Carbon Tracker YouTube channel):
- Skeptical Science: Get the FULL DEBUNKING of All Climate Science Denier Arguments
- Part 1: The brutal logic of climate change (David Roberts, Grist) [emphasis added]:
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)
- 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)
- The Real Global Warming Signal (Tamino)
- No, global warming hasn't stopped (New Scientist)
- Top UN Climate Official Blasts U.S. Climate Policy: Americans Must Realize "This Is Their Future They're Compromising" (Think Progress Green)
- VIDEO: Climate Scientists Michael Mann on "A Look Into Our Climate: Past To Present To Future" (TEDx, YouTube)
- 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]: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."