IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Capitol Kabuki Theatre: State of the Union energy facts vs. fiction; Keystone XL pipeline fight redux?; Hottest Arctic on record; Radioactive rice in Japan; PLUS: Forget Fukushima --- is nuclear's bad reputation caused by Bond - James Bond? ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Arctic Ocean freshwater "bulge" detected; DOE slashes US gas reserves estimates; Exxon to pay $1.6M in MT spill settlement; China report spells out "grim" climate change risks; Sun's changes unlikely to slow global warming; Next ice age not likely before 1,500 years; How to get help paying for home heating oil ... PLUS: 24-hour solar in Spain, as world's largest all-solar yacht completes round-the-world tour... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Capitol Kabuki Theatre: State of the Union Energy Facts v. FICTION:
- Obama to tout natural gas benefits in State of Union (Reuters)
- Obama Speech to Embrace Manufacturing (Bloomberg News)
- State Of The Romney: Really, Really Bad Energy Policy (Think Progress)
- State of the union address should defend environmental regulations: Barack Obama should counter the argument that environmental protections 'kill' jobs, and stress their benefits (Guardian UK)
- Oil and Gas Jobs Increased by 75,000 Under Obama - 69,000 More Than Would Be Created By Keystone XL (Climate Progress)
- 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."
- Keystone XL Pipeline Fight REDUX:
- SOTU: Keystone Activists to Protest Oil, Congress Ties (Reuters):
A coalition of environmental groups plans to stage a rally against 'Big Oil's corruption' on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, hours before President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address to Congress.
- Boehner: Republicans May Link Pipeline To Tax Bill (Reuters)
- VIDEO: Boehner: Obama State of the Union proposals sound 'pathetic' (FoxNews.com)
- Keystone XL Pipeline Backers Dwarfed Opponents In Lobbying Efforts (Think Progress)
- Keystone Foes Urge Obama to Repeal Tax Breaks for Oil Companies (Bloomberg News)
- Boehner Threatens To Hold Payroll Tax Holiday Hostage To Approval Of Keystone XL (Think Progress)
- Big Oil's Money Trail to Congress Looms Large for Keystone (Climate Central)
- 5 myths about the Keystone XL pipeline (Washington Post)
- Keystone XL is dead for now. What's next? (Washington Post)
- 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)
- VIDEO: Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline is Not a Jobs Plan, But an Oil Export Plan (NRDC via Think Progress Green)
- Hottest Arctic on Record:
- NASA: 2011 was ninth warmest year on record (The State Column):
According to an annual analysis of global temperatures released earlier this week by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), the planet’s average temperature was nearly one degree warmer in 2011 than it was in the middle of the 20th century.
- NASA Press Release: NASA Finds 2011 Ninth Warmest Year on Record (NASA.gov)
- 2011 was ninth-warmest year since 1880: NASA (Reuters)
- Arctic Temperatures Continue Rapid Rise as 2011 Breaks Record Set in 2010 (Climate Progress):
Record Ice Loss and Tundra Melt Amplify Warming Feedbacks: NASA just (19 January 2012) released data showing that last year temperatures in the Arctic rose beyond the record established in 2010 - setting a new record for 2011. News of the record Arctic temperatures follows a series of alarming developments related to the Arctic in recent months.
"We know the planet is absorbing more energy than it is emitting," said GISS director James E. Hansen in a NASA press release (NASA Finds 2011 Ninth Warmest Year on Record, 19 Jan 2012). "So we are continuing to see a trend toward higher temperatures. Even with the cooling effects of a strong La Niña influence and low solar activity for the past several years, 2011 was one of the 10 warmest years on record."
- NOAA: 2010 Tied For Warmest Year on Record (NOAA.gov)
- 2011 was the driest year on record in Texas (Reuters)
- Radioactive Rice in Japan:
- Japanese Struggle to Protect Their Food Supply (NY Times):
[Japanese] government inspectors declared Onami’s rice safe for consumption after testing just two of its 154 rice farms.
Then, a few days later, a skeptical farmer in Onami, who wanted to be sure his rice was safe for a visiting grandson, had his crop tested, only to find it contained levels of cesium that exceeded the government’s safety limit. In the weeks that followed, more than a dozen other farmers also found unsafe levels of cesium. An ensuing panic forced the Japanese government to intervene, with promises to test more than 25,000 rice farms in eastern Fukushima Prefecture, where the plant is located.
- Radioactive Cesium Content Higher in Fukushima Fruits, Mushrooms (Asahi Shimbun)
- Cabinet Kept Alarming Nuke Report Secret (Japan Times)
- No Record of Japan Nuclear Disaster Meetings (Times of India)
- Japan Seeks UN Nuclear Agency Presence in Fukushima (AFP)
- Forget Fukushima: Nuclear's Bad Reputation is Hollywood's Fault:
- James Bond villains blamed for nuclear's bad image (BBC):
The evil villains in James Bond movies are being blamed for casting a long-lasting shadow over the image of nuclear power, says the president of the Royal Society of Chemistry.
- James Bond Villains Harm Nuclear Power’s Public Image, Top UK Scientist Tells BBC. I say No, Dr. No. (Climate Progress)
- AUDIO: Is nuclear 'negativity' down to Dr No? (BBC)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Arctic Ocean Freshwater Bulge Detected: (BBC):
UK scientists have detected a huge dome of fresh water that is developing in the western Arctic Ocean.
- Energy Dept. Slashes Gas Reserves Estimate for Marcellus Shale (Charleston Gazette):
Federal government analysts on Monday slashed their estimate of the natural gas reserves in the Marcellus Shale formation, and at least one major producer announced plans to cut in half its expenditures on new gas leases in the wake of dropping prices.
- Twin 50 MW Solar Thermal Plants Go Online in Spain; Each Can Run 7.5 Hours After Nightfall (Treehugger):
Valle I & II, the new plants, each utilize parabolic trough technology—where rows of curved mirrors concentrate sunlight in order to heat a liquid, which is turned into steam to power a generator. The plants will be able to store enough energy to continue operating seven and a half hours after sundown.
- Yellowstone River Oil Spill: Exxon reaches $1.6M spill settlement (AP):
Exxon Mobil agreed Thursday to pay $1.6 million in penalties to the state of Montana over water pollution caused by a pipeline break last summer that fouled dozens of miles of shoreline along the scenic Yellowstone River. Montana Department of Environmental Quality director Richard Opper said the penalties in the case mark the largest in the agency's history.
- Haiti: Expanding Access to Electricity, Without the Grid, With Portable Solar Kits (NY Times):
President Michel Martelly said Monday that he hoped to double the number of rural households that receive electricity within two years by offering people small loans to buy solar kits.
- China report spells out "grim" climate change risks (Reuters):
Global warming threatens China's march to prosperity by cutting crops, shrinking rivers and unleashing more droughts and floods, says the government's latest assessment of climate change, projecting big shifts in how the nation feeds itself.
The warnings are carried in the government's "Second National Assessment Report on Climate Change," which sums up advancing scientific knowledge about the consequences and costs of global warming for China --- the world's second biggest economy and the biggest emitter of greenhouse gas pollution.
- Sun's changes unlikely to slow global warming, scientists say (Guardian UK)
- Next ice age not likely before 1,500 years: study (Reuters):
High levels of carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere mean the next ice age is unlikely to begin for at least 1,500 years, an article in the journal Nature Geoscience said on Monday.
"(Analysis) suggests that the end of the current interglacial (period) would occur within the next 1,500 years, if atmospheric CO2 concentrations do not exceed (around) 240 parts per million by volume (ppmv)," the study said.
However, the current carbon dioxide concentration is of 390 ppmv, and at that level an increase in the volume of ice sheets would not be possible, it added.
- Wasting the Wastewater: Recycling wastewater will be crucial to the drinking supply someday (NYT Green)
- Sounding an Alarm on Birds and Mercury (NYT Green):
Back then Dr. Evers and other biologists already knew that mercury contamination in lakes and rivers had caused the neurotoxins to accumulate in the bodies of fish. Water birds like common loons that feed primarily on freshwater fish had also been contaminated; the toxin attacked the nervous system, making them act strangely. Among other signs, Dr. Evers noticed that the contaminated birds had trouble sitting on their eggs long enough for them to hatch. They seemed easily distracted, and the impact on the rates of reproduction was alarming.
- How to Get Help Paying for Heating Oil (NYT Green)
- 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.
- World's Largest Solar Boat En Route to Complete Historic Lap Around the Globe (Treehugger):
PlanetSolar's Turanor, the world's largest solar-powered boat, is about to complete its record-breaking 18-month journey across the globe. The Swiss vessel, which, from the docks, looks like a futuristic speed boat outfitted for a NASCAR race—the hull doubles as a billboard for the trip's sponsor, the watchmaker Candino. From above, it's a sprawling solar-paneled space shuttle. When the Turanor pulls into Monaco in three months, it will be the first engine-propelled boat to make an around-the-world voyage fueled by sunlight alone.
- 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."