IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Warning - world water crisis (and wars?) ahead; Senate to vote on repeal of Big Oil subsidies; New EPA rules: the beginning of the end for coal?; Climate scientists warn the planet is approaching tipping points; PLUS: It's confirmed - BP's oil still killing in the Gulf of Mexico... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): 2 UK offshore drilling platforms evacuated due to gas cloud; Japan Shuts Down Its Next-To-Last Nuclear Reactor; The financial bubble is nothing compared to the $22 trillion 'carbon bubble'; US states propose 3 new water pipelines; Judge overturns EPA veto of mountaintop removal Spruce Mine; Panel says MSHA partially responsible for Upper Big Branch Mine disaster; New bird-friendly wind energy designs; Enviros sue to see 'proprietary' fracking chemicals; Denizens of the Deep: James Cameron's deep-sea dive ... PLUS: Think solar power can't compete with big utilities? Think again ... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Extreme Weather Tied to Global Warming: study:
- March heat wave re-writing Nat'l Weather Service record book (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
- March Madness: 'This May Be An Unprecedented Event Since Modern U.S. Weather Records Began In The Late 19th Century' (Climate Progress) [emphasis added]:
March Heat Records Hit Incredible Ratio of 35 to 1 vs. Cold Records, Must-See Weather Channel Video Explains Link to Global Warming
There is a must-see interview of Ostro on the Weather Channel's website, in which Ostro explains how "data and science" - see this big PDF - switched him from being a skeptic on climate change to someone who understands that humans are changing the climate now.
- ANALYSIS: Extremely hot (Real Climate.org)
One can ask two different questions about the influence of global warming on heat waves (Otto et al. 2012), and we take them in turn.
- Tipping Points: Global Warming Close To Becoming Irreversible
- Global warming close to becoming irreversible-scientists (Reuters):
The world is close to reaching tipping points that will make it irreversibly hotter, making this decade critical in efforts to contain global warming, scientists warned on Monday.
Scientific estimates differ but the world's temperature looks set to rise by six degrees Celsius by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions are allowed to rise uncontrollably.
As emissions grow, scientists say the world is close to reaching thresholds beyond which the effects on the global climate will be irreversible, such as the melting of polar ice sheets and loss of rainforests.
- 'Compost bomb' is latest climate change 'tipping point' (Telegraph UK)
- Senate to Vote on Repeal of Big Oil's Taxpayer Subsidies:
- Oil Industry Launches Ad Campaign Against Senate Bill Repealing Tax Breaks (The HIll's E2 Wire):
The oil industry launched a full-court press Monday in opposition to Democrat-backed legislation that would repeal billions in tax breaks for the largest oil companies.
- Senate Set To Fight Over Oil Company Tax Cuts (Washington Post)
- Bill Ending Oil Company Tax Cuts Clears Senate Hurdle (Reuters)
- Exxon Mobil's Tax Rate Drops To 13 Percent, After Making 35 Percent More Profits On Rising Gas Prices In 2011 (Think Progress Green)
- AP Fact Check: In 36 Years Of Data, Not A Shred Of Evidence That Drilling Reduces Gas Prices (Think Progress Green)
- GOP Budget Calls For Fire Sale Of Public Lands While Preserving $40 Billion In Tax Breaks To Big Oil (Think Progress Green)
- Beginning of the End for Coal?: EPA Announces New Emissions Rules:
- EPA: Proposed Carbon Pollution Standard for Future Power Plants (EPA.gov):
Power plants are the largest individual sources of carbon pollution in the United States and currently there are no uniform national limits on the amount of carbon pollution that future power plants will be able to emit.
- EPA imposes first greenhouse gas limits on power plants (Washington Post):
The Environmental Protection Agency issued the first limits on greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants Tuesday, a move which could end the construction of conventional coal-fired facilities in the United States.
The proposed rule --- years in the making and approved by the White House after months of review --- will require any new power plant to emit no more than 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt of electricity produced. The average U.S. natural gas plant, which emits 800 to 850 pounds of CO2 per megawatt, meets that standard; coal plants emit an average of 1,768 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt.
- New Limit Pending on Emissions (NY Times):
The coal industry, whose conservative Congressional allies have painted the E.P.A. as an overzealous regulator holding back the economy, was unhappy with the news of the proposal. They have repeatedly criticized the idea of setting limits by regulation when Congress refused to set similar limits by legislation.
But the agency had little choice after it followed the Supreme Court's directive to make a decision on whether carbon dioxide was a pollutant. In 2009, the agency declared that it should be classified as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act.
- Obama Administration To Establish Strong Carbon Pollution Limits For New Power Plants (Think Progress Green):
The new rule - which will go into effect in 2013 - confirms the end of the era of dirty coal-fired power plants.
- EPA's New Carbon Emissions Rule Spells The End For New Coal-Fired Power Plants (Matt Yglesias, Slate)
- EPA Introduces First Greenhouse-Gas Limits for Power Plants (Bloomberg News)
- Climate Rules: Why Natural Gas Will Be the Big Winner in New Greenhouse Gas Regulations (TIME Eco-Centric Blog)
- Confirmed: BP's Oil Still Killing the Gulf of Mexico:
- Gulf Oil Spill: Coral Death 'Definitively' Linked to BP Spill: (AP):
After months of laboratory work, scientists say they can definitively finger oil from BP's blown-out well as the culprit for the slow death of a once brightly colored deep-sea coral community in the Gulf of Mexico that is now brown and dull.
- Gulf Dolphins Exposed to Oil Are Seriously Ill, Agency Says (NYT Green)
- BP Oil Spill's Sticky Remnants Wash Up Sporadically On Gulf Beaches (National Geographic)
- Study by NOAA and Partners Shows Some Gulf Dolphins Severely Ill (NOAA)
- Barataria Bay Dolphins Severely Ill (Mother Jones)
- Warning: Intelligence Report Warns of World Water Crisis Ahead:
- U.S. Intelligence Says Water Shortages Threaten Stability (Bloomberg):
Competition for increasingly scarce water in the next decade will fuel instability in regions such as South Asia and the Middle East that are important to U.S. national security, according to a U.S. intelligence report.
An all-out water war is unlikely in the next 10 years, as nations will be more likely to use water as a bargaining chip with each other, according to the report from the Director of National Intelligence released today.
- Water wars between countries could be just around the corner, Davey warns: UK Energy secretary tells conference that growing pressure on water resources could worsen existing war and lead to new ones (Guardian UK)
- TAKE ACTION: Bringing Safe Water to the World: Environmental stewardship can help eliminate the world's biggest health risk --- dirty water. (NRDC)
- World Water Day: Understanding Water Risk (Forbes):
As we mark World Water Day, the alarming statistics underlying water scarcity are worth repeating. Worldwide 2.7 billion people are currently affected by water shortages. As the global population races toward 8 billion and beyond, upward trends in food demand and economic growth promise to further strain freshwater resources, especially in the developing world. Climate change, of course, is exacerbating these water challenges.
- Not a Drop to Drink (OnEarthMag)
- VIDEO: How Las Vegas is drying up (Guardian UK)
- Water Works: Rebuilding Infrastructure, Creating Jobs, Greening the Environment: Want to create 1.9 million American jobs and add $265 billion to the economy? Upgrade our water infrastructure. (Green For All)
- US water pipelines: 3 proposals (Guardian UK):
Cities in the US south-west are seeking to supplement their water supplies with pipelines carrying water across the desert.
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- UK Drilling Platforms Evacuated: Exclusion zone around North Sea platform after gas leak (AFP):
Gas leaking from a North Sea platform forced the evacuation of a second rig on Tuesday, as coastguards banned ships and aircraft from travelling within miles of the accident.
A cloud of gas has reportedly surrounded the platform, while Total confirmed there was a six-mile-long sheen on the water nearby.
"It's the biggest problem we've had for ten years in the North Sea," a Total spokesman told AFP.
- Japan Shuts Down Its Next-To-Last Nuclear Reactor (AP)
- Think solar power can't compete with big utilities? Think again (Minnesota Public Radio)
- 3 Proposed New US water pipelines: Cities in the US south-west are seeking to supplement their water supplies with pipelines carrying water across the desert. Here are three proposals (Guardian UK)
- Mountaintop Removal: Judge overturns EPA veto of Spruce Mine (Coal Tattoo)
- Independent panel says proper MSHA inspections and enforcement likely could have prevented the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster (Coal Tattoo)
- New Guidelines a Step Forward for Bird-Friendly Wind Development (Huffington Post Green)
- The $22 Trillion Carbon Bubble (Think Progress Green) [links, emphasis in original]:
The global economy is riding on a financial bubble that dwarfs the subprime crisis - a $22 trillion carbon bubble. On our present pathway, humanity is expected to burn through proven fossil fuel reserves by 2050, making global warming greater than 5°C (9°F) likely and civilizationally catastrophic effects irreversible. To have an 80 percent chance of keeping warming below 2°C, 80 percent of proven reserves [pdf] need to stay unburned. The present estimated value of these civilization-threatening reserves is approximately $22 trillion. [click through for graphic].
- The $20 Trillion Carbon Bubble: Interview With John Fullerton, Part One (Think Progress Green):
John Fullerton, the founder and president of the Capital Institute, sees the global economy facing the possibility of a crash that would dwarf the subprime crisis and the Great Depression.
- Indian Tribe Worries Keystone Pipeline Will Disturb Graves (AP):
As President Barack Obama pushes to fast-track an oil pipeline from Oklahoma south to the Gulf Coast, an American Indian tribe that calls the oil hub home worries the route might disrupt sacred sites holding the unmarked graves of their ancestors.
- FRACKING: Environmentalists Challenge Trade Secret Protections for Hydraulic Fracturing (Fuel Fix):
Environmentalists have mounted a legal challenge against Wyoming regulators they say are improperly approving oil and gas companies' 'overly broad,' boilerplate requests to shield information about the chemicals they use in drilling operations.
- James Cameron's Historic Dive: The Challenger's Deep-Sea Brethren (NYT Green):
On Monday, the film director and explorer James Cameron became the first human to reach the world's deepest abyss on his own, the Challenger Deep, which lies 62 miles southwest of Guam in the Pacific Ocean. The dive had been attempted only once before, in 1960, when Don Walsh, a retired United States Navy captain, and Jacques Piccard, a Swiss engineer, reached the spot in the Navy submersible Trieste.
- CANADA: Common Toothpaste Aditive Triclosan to be Deemed Toxic to Environment: (Postmedia News):
The federal government is set to declare a bacteria killer found in many toothpastes, mouthwashes and anti-bacterial soaps as toxic to the environment, a move which could see the use of the chemical curtailed sharply, Postmedia News has learned.
- It's the GOP vs. the Navy - on Clean Energy Use (Climate Progress) [emphasis added]:
In 2012, if you want to reduce your use of fossil fuels in favor of clean energy sources, expect to be taken to task by Republicans. Even if you're the United States Armed Forces.
Under most of the mainstream media radar, the U.S. military has emerged as one of the nation's biggest adopters of clean technologies including solar power, wind energy, green buildings, and biofuels.
- Myths and Facts: The German Switch from Nuclear to Renewables (TIME)
- Damage to oceans could cost $2tr by 2100 (Business Green)
Damage to natural services provided by oceans could cost the world $2tr a year by the end of the century if steps to curtail climate change are not taken, a study by the respected Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) said today.
- Global Sea Level Likely to Rise as Much as 70 Feet for Future Generations (Science Daily):
Even if humankind manages to limit global warming to 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F), as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommends, future generations will have to deal with sea levels 12 to 22 meters (40 to 70 feet) higher than at present, according to research published in the journal Geology.
- O.E.C.D. Warns of Ever-Higher Greenhouse Gas Emissions (NY Times):
Because of such dependence on fossil fuels, carbon dioxide emissions from energy use are expected to grow by 70 percent, the O.E.C.D. said, which will help drive up the global average temperature by 3 to 6 degrees Celsius by 2100 - exceeding the warming limit of within 2 degrees agreed to by international bodies.
- 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.
- Essential Climate Science Findings:
- 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."
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