IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Obama pushes back on Republicans... as his USDA cuts back on food safety inspections; Water Wars: Frackers vs. Farmers in CO; Warmest March on record for half of U.S.; PLUS: Another major study smacks down climate change deniers ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Japan nuke plant worse off than previously indicated; OH River #1 in pollution; Mine union boss says 'Coal industry could suffer same fate as bin Laden'; Military sees threats and worry in climate change; Power source of the future: Snails!; Another warning on overfishing; Bat-killing fungus spreads; How China will force Americans to drive electric cars ... PLUS: The Brighter Side of Air Pollution ... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- It's Official: March Heat Wave 'UNMATCHED In Recorded History':
- Warmest March On Record Across Half The U.S., Expert Says (Reuters)
- Arctic Warming is Altering Weather Patterns, Study Shows (Climate Central)
- 'Very unusual' start to tornado season (MSNBC)
- CNN Meteorologist: This ‘Strange Spring’ Where Extremes ‘Become The Norm’ Is The ‘Climate Change We Are Seeing’ (Climate Progress)
- Warm weather records smashed, more than 90 cities with warmest March on record (Washington Post)
- Obama Pushes Back On Republican Hypocrisy Over Cap & Trade:
- VIDEO: President Obama Speaks at the Associated Press Luncheon (WhiteHouse.gov)
- Cap and Trade. One Great Republican Idea. (Climate Crock of the Week)
- Obama's USDA Cuts Back on Food Safety Inspections:
- What's Even Grosser Than Pink Slime? (Tom Philpott, Mother Jones) [emphasis added]:
[The USDA] is proposing a radical overhaul to the way poultry slaughterhouses are inspected—one that will significantly benefit the industry while potentially increasing the risk to consumers from antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
- S**t in your meat: Industrial poultry about to get even crappier — literally (Grist):
In an analysis of a HIMP pilot program, Food and Water Watch found that rushed poultry plant inspectors allowed a shocking number of problems through, including defective and unsanitary birds.
- Read the report: FSIS Risk Assessment for Guiding Public Health-Based Poultry Slaughter Inspection (PDF, Food Safety Inspection Service , USDA)
- House Panel Debates New Poultry Inspection Rule (Food Safety News)
- Frackers vs. Farmers Over Water in Colorado:
- Colorado farms planning for dry spell losing auction bids for water to fracking projects (Denver Post)
- CSU: 98% of Colorado under drought conditions (Denver Post)
- 98% of Colorado in drought (US Drought Monitor, via Climate Signals)
- Will Fracking Destroy Colorado's Rivers? (Huffington Post Green)
- ANOTHER Major Study: CO2 is THE Driver Of Global Warming:
- CO2 'drove end to last ice age' (BBC):
The key result from the new study is that it shows the carbon dioxide rise during this major transition ran slightly ahead of increases in global temperature. This runs contrary to the record obtained solely from the analysis of Antarctic ice cores which had indicated the opposite - that temperature elevation in the southern polar region actually preceded (or at least ran concurrent to) the climb in CO2.
Dr Shakun's team has now constructed a narrative to explain both what was happening on Antarctica and what was happening globally:
+ This starts with a subtle change in the Earth's orbit around the Sun known as a Milankovitch "wobble", which increases the amount of light reaching northern latitudes and triggers the collapse of the hemisphere's great ice sheets
+ This in turn produces vast amounts of fresh water that enter the North Atlantic to upset ocean circulation
+ Heat at the equator that would normally be distributed northwards then backs up, raising temperatures in the Southern Hemisphere
+ This initiates further changes to atmospheric and ocean circulation, resulting in the Southern Ocean releasing CO2 from its waters
+ The rise in CO2 sets in train a global rise in temperature that pulls the whole Earth out of its glaciated state
- Study suggests rising CO2 in the past caused global warming: A paper in Nature shows how increased CO2 in the atmosphere led to warming – rather than the other way round (Guardian UK)
- Ice age data bolsters greenhouse gas, warming link (AP)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Japan Nuclear Plant May Be Worse Off Than Thought (NY Times):
[N]ew tests suggest that the plant — which was ravaged last March when a powerful earthquake and tsunami hit the area — might not be as stable as the government or the operator of the plant, Tokyo Electric Power Company, or Tepco, had hoped.
The company announced this week that an examination of one reactor, No. 2, showed that the water level in an outer containment vessel was far lower than estimated, which could indicate that the already badly damaged uranium fuel might not be completely submerged and, therefore, is in danger of heating up.
- Power source of the future: Snails (Grist)
- Killing the "Job-Killing Regulation" Meme (Bloomberg News):
[A] new report suggests we ought to take claims of regulatory-related unemployment with a grain of salt. The Institute for Political Integrity, a nonpartisan think tank associated with the New York University School of Law, finds many of the studies purporting to show mass job losses --- or gains --- from environmental rules use poorly executed economic models that do not accurately measure true costs and benefits.
- Interior Dept: New process to expedite drilling on public lands (Business Week):
The Obama administration on Tuesday unveiled new procedures to speed up drilling on public lands, an area where Republicans and the oil industry have pressed the administration to do more to boost oil production and help drive down gasoline prices.
- How China will force Americans to drive electric cars (Grist)
- EPA Orders Oil Companies to Pay for Contamination of Montana Town's Water Supply (Treehugger):
The EPA announced last week it has ordered Murphy Exploration, Pioneer Natural Resources, and Samson Hydrocarbons to pay the city $320,000 to reimburse costs related to water infrastructure and relocating water wells. They will also have to monitor the city's public water supply and provide treatment, or an alternate drinking source, if the water becomes contaminated to the point where it's an official public health risk.
- Mine union boss: Coal industry could suffer same fate as bin Laden (The Hill's E2 Wire):
The coal industry will suffer the same fate as Osama bin Laden under new climate regulations proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency, the head of the United Mine Workers of America said this week.
- Too Many Small Fish Are Caught, Report Says (NY Times):
An international group of marine scientists is calling for cuts in commercial fishing for sardines, herring and other so-called forage fish whose use as food for fish farms is soaring. The catch should be cut in half for some fisheries, the scientists say, to protect populations of both the fish and the natural predators that depend on them.
- Bat-Killing Fungus Continues Deadly Spread; Death Toll Now at 7 Million (Scientific American)
- Idaho Wolf Shooting Triggers Call for Firing of Forest Service Employee: (Environment News Service):
It takes a lot to shock and sicken seasoned wildlife advocates, but the deliberate torture and shooting of a trapped wolf in northern Idaho by an employee of the U.S. Forest Service has. The incident in mid-March has triggered calls for both federal and state investigations leading to dismissal of the employee involved.
- OH River Tops Nation in Pollution Discharges: (Louisville Courier-Journal_:
The Ohio River again leads the nation in the amount of toxic chemicals dumped into it by industries, according to a new report by a Washington, D.C.- based environmental group.
- The Brighter Side of Air Pollution (Climate Central):
According to Ben Booth, of the Met Office Hadley Centre in the U.K., along with four colleagues, something called the Multidecadal Atlantic Oscillation (MDO), which has sent North Atlantic sea-surface temperatures up and down over the 20th century, isn’t a natural cycle at all, as many have thought. Instead, it’s mostly a function of how much pollution humans have been spewing into the air. “Our findings,” write the authors, “suggest that anthropogenic aerosol emissions influenced a range of societally important historical climate events such as peaks in hurricane activity and Sahel drought.”
- Interactive: how would a rise in sea-level affect US cities? (Guardian UK)
- Radioactive Iodine from Fukushima Found in California Kelp (Reuters):
Kelp off Southern California was contaminated with short-lived radioisotopes a month after Japan’s Fukushima accident, a sign that the spilled radiation reached the state’s urban coastline, according to a new scientific study.
- Military sees threats, worry in climate change (The Daily Climate):
Climate policy may be a minefield in U.S. politics, but the Pentagon sees liabilities of a different kind and is forging ahead with plans to reduce the military's carbon footprint and prepare for climate impacts. 'It's about returning more of our brave sailors and Marines.'
- 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].
- 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.
- 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."