With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
James Bond Edition!
By Desi Doyen on 1/24/2012, 2:31pm PT  


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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!

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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'...

'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.
  • Essential Climate Science Findings: