IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: War with China? Trade war, that is; March heatwave kills spring, brings early summer for US; Keystone XL pipeline more bad than good for the economy and the environment; PLUS: TV weatherman singlehandedly overturns the laws of physics ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Planet-saving, Nobel-winning ozone scientist passes; US, UK set to agree to emergency oil stocks release; Gulf Coast to get 80% of BP fines; Refiners Push EPA to scrap gas rule wanted by automakers; US solar grows to new record; 'Dark days' for coal; GOP 'playing politics' with wind credits; Water pollution from farming worsening ... PLUS: Will your city see record flooding in 2020? There's a map for that ... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Newt Gingrich Makes Up Stuff About Gas Prices:
- Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal and Koch-Fueled Cato Agree: “It’s Not Obama’s Fault That Crude Oil Prices Have Increased” (Climate Progress)
- Obama: GOP Candidates ‘Would Have Been Founding Members Of The Flat Earth Society’ (Think Progress Green)
- FactCheck.org Calls Out Rick Santorum For Claiming Global Warming Is A ‘Hoax’ (Think Progress Green):
“Skeptics are rare among scientists who actually study the climate,” it says. “Voters shouldn’t be misled into thinking carbon dioxide isn’t a problem, or that climate scientists don’t overwhelmingly agree that global warming is real and human activities are making it worse.”
- TV Weatherman Overturns Laws of Physics:
- VIDEO: WeatherBELL Chief Forecaster Joe Bastardi Denies Basic Physics: ‘CO2 Cannot Cause Global Warming’ (Climate Progress) [emphasis added]:
Asked about Bastardi’s statements, Kerry Emanuel of MIT said: “Utter rubbish. Sorry to be so direct, but that is just the case.” NASA climatologist Gavin Schmidt added: “Bastardi is attempting to throw out 150 years of physics.” “He seems very confused,” said physicist Richard Muller.
Schmidt explained: Bastardi doesn’t understand the first thing about the greenhouse effect – it has absolutely nothing to do with the ‘specific gravity’ of CO2 or any other greenhouse gas, it has to do with the fact that GHGs absorb and radiate infra-red heat and in doing so warm the surface of the Earth.
- March Heatwave Kills Spring, Brings Early Summer, As Predicted:
- Unprecedented early-year heat smashes all-time records in Midwest (Dr. Jeff Masters, Weather Underground)
- VIDEO: ABC News Explains Warm Winter, ‘Wild Swings In Weather’, Driven by Global Warming, Only Going to Get Worse (Climate Progress)
- Poisoned Weather: 1029 Records For High Temperatures, 675 Records For Rainfall In One Week (Think Progress)
- From Australian Floods To English Drought (ABC Australia)
- Great Lakes Ice Coverage Falls 71$ Over 40 Years, Researcher Says (MSNBC)
- The Winter That Wasn’t Checks In at 4th Warmest (Climate Central)
- Trade War With China Over Rare Earths?:
- VIDEO: Obama: Jobs at center of China dispute (Reuters)
- US brings new trade case against China (Guardian UK):
Administration officials said Beijing's export restrictions give Chinese companies a competitive advantage by providing them access to more of these rare materials at a cheaper price, while forcing U.S. companies to manage with a smaller, more costly supply.
- U.S. opens trade case against China over rare earth export limits: President Obama casts the move as a fight to defend America's manufacturing and energy security. (LA Times)
- Obama files trade case against China, warns Beijing on ‘skirting the rules’ (Yahoo News)
- The U.S. Decision on Chinese Solar Panel Imports: Why Tariffs Are Only A Partial Solution (Climate Progress)
- Zombie Pipeline: Keystone XL:
- Senate rejects drilling for oil in Arctic refuge: Begich breaks with other members of his party to vote in favor of measure. (Anchorage Daily News)
- George W. Bush: Keystone XL Is A ‘No-Brainer’ (Think Progress Green)
- Senate Overwhelmingly Rejects Pat Roberts ‘Drill Everywhere’ Amendment (Think Progress Green)
- CARTOON: The trouble with right-wing bitching about gas prices, in one handy cartoon (Ed Stein, via Grist)
- Zombie Keystone XL Pipeline: More Harm Than Benefit:
- Bitter spill: Leaky Keystone’s economic risks would dwarf benefits (Grist) [emphasis added]:
[T]his study asks: What happens when there’s a spill? Not if there’s a spill. There’s going to be a spill — the smaller precursor pipeline recently built by TransCanada spilled at least 14 times in its first year of operation, once spewing a geyser of tar-sands oil 60 feet into the air. In fact, the new Cornell report estimates that we can expect 91 significant spills over the next half century from Keystone, in large part because the bitumen it would carry south from Alberta is like liquid sandpaper, scouring the steel of the pipe.
In 2010, a six-foot gash in a tar-sands pipeline let a million gallons of crude pour into the Kalamazoo River. Fifty-eight percent of people in the area reported adverse health effects from the evaporating oil; the river is still closed; clean-up costs are likely to be higher than $700 million.
- Study Finds Tar Sands Has Higher CO2 Emissions Than Thought, Calls Land Restoration Pledge ‘Greenwashing’ (Climate Progress)
- Tar Sands to Texas: Will Keystone XL’s Heavy Crude Mean More Pollution? (State Impact):
Standing outside her tidy house in Pasadena, Texas, Patricia Gonzales succinctly sums up her community’s dilemma: “No one is saying we don’t want the jobs. It’s just that we don’t want the pollution coming with it.” Her home is just two miles from the Houston Ship Channel, which is lined with the biggest concentration of petrochemical plants and oil refineries in the nation.
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Breaking: US, UK set to agree to emergency oil stocks release: (Reuters):
Britain has decided to cooperate with the United States on a release of strategic oil stocks that is expected within months, two British sources said, in a bid to prevent fuel prices choking economic growth in a U.S. election year.
- F. Sherwood Rowland, 84, Dies; Raised Alarm Over Aerosols (NY Times):
Dr. Rowland’s discovery of the danger to the ozone layer presented by chlorinated fluorocarbons in aerosols was met with disdain, but the research later won him a Nobel Prize.
- Senate Approves Amendment Giving Gulf States 80 Percent Of BP Spill Fines (New Orleans Times-Picayune)
- Refiners Push EPA to Scrap Gasoline Rule That Automakers Want (Bloomberg BusinessWeek):
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers said sulfur in gasoline “poisons” emission-control devices, reducing their ability to cut tailpipe emissions. As a result, carmakers must “overdesign” the equipment to meet pollution standards, the group said in document submitted to the EPA.
- Big Oil Wants Even More Tax Cuts From Alaska: (Anchorage Daily News):
BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. and Conoco Phillips Alaska told the Senate Resources Committee there are projects the companies could do on Alaska's North Slope to increase oil production, but those projects will have trouble attracting capital investment because of high state taxes.
- U.S. solar power growth jumps to new record (Reuters):
The U.S. solar industry installed a record number of panels in 2011, more than double 2010, and is likely to see strong growth again this year, according to a new report.
The growth in U.S. demand comes as the makers of the panels that turn light into electricity have struggled to earn profits amid a glut of supplies on the global market that eroded margins.
- Obama energy chief disavows 2008 remark in favor of raising gas prices (The Hill's E2 Wire)
- Dark Days For Coal and Power Sectors (Wall St. Journal):
After a brief golden period, coal-fired power has faced a perfect storm since 2008. Looming environmental rules, sharply lower gas prices and a collapse in electricity prices have made dozens of mostly older coal plants uneconomical or not worth upgrading. Coal's share of power generation is at its lowest since 1979. Another 14% of coal-fired capacity might be switched off in favor of natural-gas turbines this year, according to Barclays Capital. [plus the U.S. has passed Peak Coal - but who's counting? --- Ed.]
- GOP Playing Politics With Wind Tax Credit (National Journal):
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., said that Republicans who support the production tax credit for wind are not supporting efforts to extend it before year’s end because they want to use it as a bargaining chip to compel extension of the Bush-era tax cuts.
- ECU Researchers: Oil From BP Spill Got Into Ocean Food Chain (WITN):
Research from students from the biology and geological science department show oil from the spill made it into the the oceans food chain through a tiny organism called zooplankton. This is important because zooplankton form the base of the food chain. They say their research helped determine the fingerprint of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that other researchers will be able to use.
- After the Storm: The Hidden Health Risks of Flooding in a Warming World (Climate Progress)
- Rising Sea Levels Seen as Threat to Coastal U.S. (NY Times) [emphasis added]:
About 3.7 million Americans live within a few feet of high tide and risk being hit by more frequent coastal flooding in coming decades because of the sea level rise caused by global warming, according to new research.
By far the most vulnerable state is Florida, the new analysis found, with roughly half of the nation’s at-risk population living near the coast on the porous, low-lying limestone shelf that constitutes much of that state. But Louisiana, California, New York and New Jersey are also particularly vulnerable, researchers found, and virtually the entire American coastline is at some degree of risk.
“Sea level rise is like an invisible tsunami, building force while we do almost nothing,” said Benjamin H. Strauss, an author, with other scientists, of two new papers outlining the research. “We have a closing window of time to prevent the worst by preparing for higher seas.”
- Climate, Food Pressures Require Rethink on Water: U.N.: (Reuters):
The world's water supply is being strained by climate change and the growing food, energy and sanitary needs of a fast-growing population, according to a United Nations study that calls for a radical rethink of policies to manage competing claims.
- Water Pollution From Farming Is Worsening, Costing Billions (Bloomberg News)
- World Breakthrough on Salt-Tolerant Wheat: (St. Petersburg Times):
A team of Australian scientists has bred salt tolerance into a variety of durum wheat that shows improved grain yield by 25% on salty soils. Using 'non-GM' crop breeding techniques, scientists from CSIRO Plant Industry have introduced a salt-tolerant gene into a commercial durum wheat, with spectacular results shown in field tests.
- The threat of carbon emissions on the world’s oceans (Op-ed, Washington Post):
Emitting massive amounts of carbon dioxide doesn’t just change the chemistry of the atmosphere; it makes the oceans more acidic. Predicting the impact on ocean ecosystems involves educated speculation, which often involves applying evidence of what has happened before. In the latest edition of the journal Science, a team of researchers reckons that today’s human-emitted CO2 is increasing ocean acidity far faster than previous, naturally occurring episodes scientists have studied, which themselves appear to have had very alarming results.
- VIDEO: James Hansen: Why I must speak out about climate change (TED Talks):
Top climate scientist James Hansen tells the story of his involvement in the science of and debate over global climate change. In doing so he outlines the overwhelming evidence that change is happening and why that makes him deeply worried about the future.
- Skeptical Science: Get the FULL DEBUNKING of ALL Climate Science Denier Arguments
- VIDEO ANIMATION: Time history of atmospheric CO2 (NOAA Carbon Tracker YouTube channel):
- VIDEO: Animation Charts Modern Global Warming (NYT Green)
- Must-Read: Economist William Nordhaus Slams Global Warming Deniers, Explains Cost of Delay is $4 Trillion (Climate Progress):
Nordhaus’s blunt piece — “Why the Global Warming Skeptics Are Wrong” – is worth reading because he is no climate hawk.
"The skeptics’ summary is based on poor analysis and on an incorrect reading of the results."
- 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)
- How to Buy Time in the Fight against Climate Change: Mobilize to Stop Soot and Methane: A short list of relatively simple actions taken to reduce greenhouse gases other than CO2 could help put the brakes on global warming--if implemented globally (Scientific American)
- Climate Scientists Rebuke Rupert Murdoch: WSJ Denier Op-Ed Like 'Dentists Practicing Cardiology' (Think Progress Green)
- 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."
- VIDEO: Behold: The World's First 24/7 Solar Plant is Up and Running (Treehugger)
- 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."