IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: It's official: March 2012 the warmest March on record in the US; So much for April showers - wildfires and drought break out along the Eastern seaboard; PLUS: Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On: Fracking boom leads to natural gas glut and fracking earthquakes... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): 1981 study accurately predicted current global temperature rise; NASA's Hansen: climate change is a moral issue 'on par with slavery; Is high-fructose corn syrup killing bees?; Mystery disease spreads to polar bears; AZ House OKs secrecy in enviro reports; Warm Atlantic Ocean leads to Amazon wildfires; Nuclear power industry: poised to repeat ‘managerial disaster’? ... PLUS: Secret ingredient to making solar energy work: salt ... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- It's Official: March 2012 Warmest in US History, Fueling Extreme Weather:
- US records warmest March; more than 15,000 warm temperature records broken (NOAA)
- Warmest March On Record Across Half The U.S., Expert Says (Reuters)
- Arctic Warming is Altering Weather Patterns, Study Shows (Climate Central)
- Anchorage breaks seasonal snowfall record: That brought the seasonal total for the city to 133.6 inches --- breaking the record of 132.6 inches, set in 1954-1955.
- 'Very unusual' start to tornado season (MSNBC)
- VIDEO: CNN Meteorologist: This ‘Strange Spring’ Where Extremes ‘Become The Norm’ Is The ‘Climate Change We Are Seeing’ (Climate Progress):
That’s kind of the climate change we are seeing. You know, extremes are kind of ruling the roost and really what we are seeing, more become the norm.”
“This global warming is really kind of a misnomer. It’s global climate change. So the colds are colder and warms are warmer and severe is more severe.”
- Warm weather records smashed, more than 90 cities with warmest March on record (Washington Post)
- Matterhorn disintegrating in the face of global warming:
Cycle of freezing and thawing sees lumps of rock falling off the mountain, say scientists (UK Independent)
- NOAA Draft Report: Global Warming Fueled March Heat Wave:
- NOAA report: Global warming a factor in March record highs (Oxford Press):
March high temperatures that broke century-old records were in part fueled by global warming from human activity, an early analysis from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.
In a draft report dated April 3 from NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory Physical Sciences Division, federal scientists examining Upper Midwest and Ohio Valley Region conditions estimated that human-caused global warming “contributed on the order of 5% to 10% of the magnitude of the heat wave during 12-23 March.”
- Global Warming: Meteorological March Madness 2012 (NOAA)
- Wildfires Break Out Along East Coast:
- VIDEO: Fires from Long Island to Florida test crews (NBC's Today Show):
Still, the weather conditions were making for "red flag warnings" along the East Coast, NBC weather anchor Al Roker said on TODAY. Areas from Long Island to Florida and as far west as Kentucky were under the advisory, which reflects extremely dangerous fire conditions.
- Fracking Boom Leads To Natural Gas Glut:
- Natural gas producers are being forced to scale back as prices fall, storage caverns fill up (Washington Post):
The U.S. natural gas market is bursting at the seams.
So much natural gas is being produced that soon there may be nowhere left to put the country’s swelling surplus. After years of explosive growth, natural gas producers are retrenching.
The glut has benefited businesses and homeowners that use natural gas. But with natural gas prices at a 10-year low — and falling — companies that produce the fuel are becoming victims of their drilling successes. Their stock prices are falling in anticipation of declining profits and scaled-back growth plans.
- Fracking "Almost Certainly" Cause of Midwest Earthquakes:
- Shale Shocked: ‘Remarkable Increase’ In U.S. Earthquakes ‘Almost Certainly Manmade,’ USGS Scientists Report (Climate Progress):
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) team has found that a sharp jump in earthquakes in America’s heartland appears to be linked to oil and natural gas drilling operations.
Some quakes may be caused by the original fracking — that is, by injecting a fluid mixture into the earth to release natural gas (or oil). More appear to be caused by reinjecting the resulting brine deep underground.
- READ IT: Are Seismicity Rate Changes in the Midcontinent Natural or Manmade? (Seismological Society of America)
- BLM speeds up permit process (Wyoming Business Report)
- Stock Up Now: Global Warming Hates Maple Syrup:
- Thanks to climate change, maple syrup faces a sticky future (Grist.org):
Meet farmer and retired teacher Martha Carlson and hear her up-close-and-personal take on sugar maple trees and the unique (and delicious) food they provide. If we continue warming the planet at the same rate, most sugar maples will be gone by 2100. But it’s not just a future danger we’re talking about.
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Evaluating a 1981 temperature projection (Real Climate.org) [emphasis added]:
To conclude, a projection from 1981 for rising temperatures in a major science journal, at a time that the temperature rise was not yet obvious in the observations, has been found to agree well with the observations since then, underestimating the observed trend by about 30%.
- NASA scientist: climate change is a moral issue on a par with slavery (Guardian UK) [emphasis added]:
Averting the worst consequences of human-induced climate change is a "great moral issue" on a par with slavery, according to the leading Nasa climate scientist Prof Jim Hansen.
He argues that storing up expensive and destructive consequences for society in future is an "injustice of one generation to others".
- Pesticides and High Fructose Corn Syrup Recreate "Classic" Colony Collapse Disorder in Experiments (Treehugger):
While pesticide maker Bayer CropScience may keep denying it, the evidence keeps mounting up that imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid pesticide, is having a massive influence on the plight of our honeybees.
- Polar Bears Have Symptoms of Mystery Disease: (Reuters):
Symptoms of a mysterious disease that has killed scores of seals off Alaska and infected walruses are now showing up in polar bears, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said on Friday.
- 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.
- Grants Criticized by GOP Helped Create 75k Jobs a Year: DOE: (Greenwire):
The Treasury Department's $9 billion renewable energy grant program supported as many as 75,000 jobs each year it was available, according to a new report from the Department of Energy that counters Republican criticism of the grant-in-lieu-of-tax-credit effort.
- AZ House OKs Secrecy For Environmental Reports: (AP):
Mining companies and other businesses will be allowed to keep environmental studies secret, even if they detail possible pollution problems, under industry-backed legislation that gained final House approval Monday.
- EPA Cancels $20M Green Chemistry Grant Program Without Explanation: (Environmental Health News):
In an announcement that stunned scientists, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has cancelled grant applications for what was supposed to be a $20-million, four-year green chemistry program.
- Warming Atlantic Primes the Amazon For Fire: (The Daily Climate):
The warming Atlantic Ocean is drawing moisture away from the Western Amazon, drying the rainforest and catching residents by surprise. 'We weren't prepared.'
- Is Nuclear Power Industry Poised to Repeat ‘Managerial Disaster’? (Tampa Bay Times):
’The failure of the U.S. nuclear power program ranks as the largest managerial disaster in business history, a disaster on a monumental scale.' The rant of an antinuclear activist? Hardly. It was the first sentence of an in-depth story in a conservative business magazine, Forbes. In 1985."
- Maryland Set to Become First State to Ban Arsenic in Chicken Feed: (Washington Post):
Maryland is about to become the first state to ban the use of additives containing arsenic in chicken feed, a practice already prohibited by Canada and the European Union.
- Secret Ingredient To Making Solar Energy Work: Salt (Forbes) [emphasis added]:
In a small lab in the San Francisco Bay Area biotech hub of Emeryville, scientists at a startup called Halotechnics are sifting through thousands of mixtures of molten salt. They’re searching for the right combinations that will allow solar thermal energy to be stored cheaply and efficiently so it can be dispatched to generate electricity after the sun sets. In other words, the 24/7 solar power plant.
- FDA to GMO labeling campaign: What million signatures? (Grist.org):
As explained by the Chicago Tribune, the FDA doesn’t care “if 35,000 people … sign their name to the same form letter” or 1 million people do. Either way, it counts as a single comment in its system.
- Pew poll: Clean energy still popular among everyone except older conservatives (Grist.org)
- 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.
- 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)
- 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."