IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Republicans taking hostages over Keystone XL pipeline --- again; Banner year for Big Oil profits --- again; Chevy Volt cleared of all charges; Florida invaded by snakes (no, not the GOP primary); PLUS: The Muppets Strike Back (at Fox 'News') ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): World lacks enough food, fuel as population soars: UN; Carmakers support CA's new clean car regulations; Illinois tops nation in new wind turbines; Will W.Va. prepare for a post-coal future?; Canada urged EPA to disregard oilsands emissions; New faux renewable energy scandal engulfs GOP; Debunking Murdoch's Daily Mail, Wall St. Journal climate denials; GMO crops spreading in the wild; TX heat, drought caused by global warming: Hansen ... PLUS: Saudi Oil Minister Calls Global Warming "Humanity's Most Pressing Concern"... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- FL Primary Debate: Rick Santorum: 'Gingrich and Romney Bought Into the Global Warming Hoax' (Think Progress)
- Banner Year for Big Oil Profits --- AGAIN --- While Gas Prices Hit January Record:
- ExxonMobil Made $41.1 Billion In 2011, But Pays Estimated 17.6 Percent Tax Rate (Think Progress Green)
- Gas prices rise, and refinery closures loom (LA Times):
Gasoline prices, already at record levels for January, rose again over the last week, the Energy Department said. But that wasn't necessarily the worst news about the continuing strain on motorists' wallets: Refinery closures were setting up the eastern half of the nation for more price increases later this year.
Phil Weiss, senior analyst for energy for New York-based Argus Research, said the refinery closings were part of an industrywide move to reduce exposure to low-profit refinery operations.
- ExxonMobil Paid NO U.S. Taxes in 2009 (Climate Progress)
- ConocoPhillips Profits Jump 66 Percent, Earning $12.4 Billion In 2011 (Think Progress Green)
- CHART: Big Oil Backers Of Keystone XL Pipeline Gave Big To Senate GOP Allies (Think Progress Green)
- Exxon Aims to Bail on Payments for Valdez Damage (Mother Jones)
- Big Oil Taxpayer Subsidies Dwarf Renewable Energy:
- The real beneficiaries of energy subsidies: Don't buy the GOP's claims. Oil companies, not green alternatives, are making a killing from the government (Salon):
the United States is a big contributor to this global subsidy imbalance, "provid(ing) substantially larger subsidies to fossil fuels than to renewables." In practice, some of the biggest of those U.S. subsidies come in the form of special tax breaks for oil and gas development, and in direct taxpayer funding of multinational corporations' foreign mining projects (yes, you read that right - your tax dollars go to fund fossil fuel development overseas).
- Fossil fuel subsidies: a tour of the data: Fossil fuels are subsidised in much of the world, causing billions of tonnes of addition CO2 emissions (Guardian UK)
- Republicans Taking Hostages Over the Keystone XL Pipeline --- AGAIN:
- VIDEO: Boehner: House Will Attach Keystone Pipeline to Infrastructure Bill (Crooks & Liars)
- Keystone to be linked to US highway bill-Boehner (Reuters):
Republicans have since been looking for a vehicle to resurrect the $7 billion project, and Boehner said that would be a House Republican energy and highway bill.
Parts of the House Republican plan, such as opening up the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration, stand little chance of passing the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate.
- Big Oil's Marching Orders to GOP: Risk Middle Class Tax Relief to Protect Our Profits on Keystone XL (Sierra Club)
- Manchin joins Senate GOP on latest Keystone effort (WOWK-TV, Huntington, WV)
- CHART: Big Oil Backers Of Keystone XL Pipeline Gave Big To Senate GOP Allies (Think Progress Green)
- State Department tells Republicans: Don't mess with us on Keystone (The Hill's E2 Wire)
- Canadian pipeline needs aboriginal consent: chief (Reuters)
- Chevy Volt Cleared of All Charges:
- Case closed: NHTSA ends Chevrolet Volt fire investigation (Consumer Reports)
- Obama official adamant Chevy Volt is safe (The Hill's E2 Wire)
- VIDEO: Conservative Media Recklessly Distort Volt Safety (MediaMatters.org):
Conservative media have misrepresented the results of Chevy Volt crash tests, claiming the batteries "blow up" and are a "fire trap," and suggesting that fires have occurred spontaneously during use. In fact, fires only occurred after crash tests and regulators concluded an inquiry after finding that Volts are just as safe as conventional cars.
- NHTSA Says Don't Worry About Your Chevy Volt Erupting Into Flames More Than Other Cars (Consumerist)
- GM CEO stands up for Chevy Volt in D.C. hearing; Issa tells NHTSA: "I don't believe you" (AutoBlog Green) [emphasis added]:
Just from the title of the event - "Volt Vehicle Fire: What did NHTSA Know and When Did They Know It?" - it was plain to see that chairman Darrell Issa was not looking to mess around. Issa had General Motors CEO Dan Akerson, NHTSA Administrator David Strickland and John German (Senior Fellow and Program Director at the International Council on Clean Transportation) at his disposal, but he clearly didn't always like what they had to say.
He told Strickland: "I hear you, I don't believe you."
- House Republicans Question Safety of Chevy Volt Batteries (The New American) [emphasis added]:
"The Chevrolet Volt is safe to drive and it has been safe to drive the whole time," David Strickland, head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), told a congressional panel.
- Florida Invaded By Snakes (Not the GOP):
- Invasion!: Burmese pythons decimate mammals in the Everglades (AP)
- US bans import of Burmese pythons (AFP)
- Pythons linked to Florida Everglades mammal decline (BBC)
- Pythons have stranglehold on Florida Everglades ecosystem (USA Today)
- Pythons hunt Florida mammals to brink of extinction (New Scientist) [emphasis added]:
A further problem, says Dorcas, is that the prey species are unfamiliar with large snakes as predators, and so don't take steps to avoid them. "It has been millions of years since there was a large snake predator in Florida, so the animals are naive to detecting or recognising snakes as large predators," he says.
The bad news is that there are probably tens of thousands of the pythons at large in a remote wilderness area covering thousands of square kilometres, and despite their size they are extremely difficult to find and kill.
- The Muppets Strike Back --- At Fox News:
- The Muppets fire back at Fox News: Kermit and Miss Piggy, aided by their puppeteers, sound off to London reporters on recent accusations the film promotes a "dangerous liberal agenda." (CBS News)
- VIDEO: Bill O'Reilly Responds To The Muppets: "We Still Like The Muppets, But They Better Watch It" (Media Matters.org)
- VIDEO: 'Muppets' Press Conference Calls Out Fox Business Network for 'Communist' Comments (Hollywood Reporter)
- Fox Business Network Calls Muppets Communist; Debate Goes Viral (Hollywood Reporters)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- World lacks enough food, fuel as population soars: U.N. (Reuters):
The world is running out of time to make sure there is enough food, water and energy to meet the needs of a rapidly growing population and to avoid sending up to 3 billion people into poverty, a U.N. report warned on Monday....[saying] the demand for resources will rise exponentially.
Even by 2030, the world will need at least 50 percent more food, 45 percent more energy and 30 percent more water, according to U.N. estimates, at a time when a changing environment is creating new limits to supply.
- CA Makes History: Carmakers Support California's New Clean Car Regulations (ABC News)
- Illinois tops nation in new wind turbines (Chicago Sun-Times):
In 2011, Illinois topped the nation in the number of new wind turbines installed here - 404 - and ranked No. 2 behind California in the total amount of the turbines' power capacity , according to a report by the American Wind Energy Association.
- Will W.Va. prepare for a post-coal future? (Coal Tattoo, Charleston Gazette):
[Summary from West Virginia Center for Budget and Policy concludes:] "In the past, West Virginia did not gain broadly shared prosperity for its residents, despite the tremendous wealth of natural resources in the state. As the Marcellus Shale gas play begins to boom in West Virginia, the state should take action today to ensure that it truly benefits from the extraction of its valuable natural resources. Without a permanent fund, the economic benefit from the natural resource extraction will decline along with the natural resources themselves.
- EPA urged to disregard oilsands emissions in Keystone decision: letters (Canada.com):
The Alberta government has acknowledged that the Obama administration had accurate information about environmental impacts of oilsands development, but unsuccessfully urged it to disregard the industry's footprint on the planet's climate in an evaluation of the Keystone XL pipeline project, newly released correspondence has revealed.
- Daily Mail Slammed for Ignoring Scientific Truth We're Still Warming and Human Emissions Will Dwarf Any Solar Changes (Climate Progress)
- Full Debunking: Murdoch's Wall Street Journal Finds 16 Scientists to Push Pollutocrat Agenda With Long-Debunked Climate Lies (Climate Progress)
- The Great Escape: Gene-altered crops grow wild (Environmental Health News):
[L]arge numbers of genetically modified plants have escaped from farm fields and are now growing wild. About 80 percent of canola growing along roadsides in North Dakota contains genes that have been modified to make the plants resistant to common weed-killers.
- The great northern migration of US cattle, due to TX drought: (Texas Tribune)
- Texas Heat and Drought Caused by Global Warming, NASA's Hansen Says (Inside Climate News):
Temperature data shows the Texas heat wave wouldn't have occurred without warming, Hansen claims. Others aren't ready to draw such a definitive conclusion.
- Latest clean energy faux scandal engulfs GOP spokesman Mitch Daniels (David Roberts, Grist):
The Obama administration created a U.S. advanced-battery industry more or less from scratch. I feel confident history will view that as a bigger deal than the failure of a single company.
- Saudi Oil Minister Calls Global Warming "Humanity's Most Pressing Concern" (Climate Progress):
"We know that pumping oil out of the ground does not create many jobs. It does not foster an entrepreneurial spirit, nor does it sharpen critical faculties."
- NRC Report Calls for New Nano Safety Research Strategy (Science):
Despite billions of dollars spent on nanotechnology research and development over the past decade, the human and environmental safety of nanomaterials remains unclear. As a result, a new nanomaterials safety research strategy is needed, and new governmental oversight is required to ensure the essential research is carried out, according to a report released [Wednesday] by the National Research Council (NRC).
- 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.
- 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)
- Earth's Plant Growth Fell Because of Climate Change, Study Finds (NYT 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]: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."