IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: 'Better living through chemistry'? Obama's EPA approves Agent Orange herbicide, his FDA refuses to ban antibiotics in animal feed; Debunking the GOP: Gas prices were higher under Bush; Total Oil totally can't stop massive off-shore leak; PLUS: Even Lloyd's of London warns against Arctic drilling... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): GOP’s worst nightmare: Green Muslims; Ocean acidification from CO2 causing oyster die-offs; Worst. Farm bill. Ever.; NYT magical thinking on natural gas boom; Bringing back the American Chestnut; Activists succeed in cancelling proposed GA coal plant; TN passes anti-science, anti-evolution, anti-climate education law ... PLUS: Actually, not that many fish in the sea ... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
[Ed. Note: In our audio report, we mistakenly referred to 2,4-D as a pesticide; in fact, it is an herbicide. Our apologies for the error. (For the record, one kills bugs, the other kills weeds. Widespread use of both are leading to widespread resistance in their intended targets.)]
- Fox News FAIL:
- VIDEO: Fox's Gutfeld: "Even If There Is Global Warming ... It's Good For Human Beings. If A Polar Bear Dies I Don't Feel Bad" (Media Matters)
- Heat Will Kill More Than Cold in Europe Eventually (ABC News, 2011)
- STUDY: Heat Mortality Vs. Cold Mortality in the U.S. [PDF] (Univ. of Mississippi)
- STUDY: Human Biological Adaptation to Climate Extremes: (Palomar College)
- Debunking the GOP: Gas Prices Were Higher Under G. W. Bush:
- Phony GOP Meme of the Moment: 'Gas Prices Have Doubled Under Obama!'... Uh, well, not really... (The BRAD BLOG):
Of course, it's not actually all that true. Surprised? More accurately, it's an outright lie, since the folks who are pushing it know damned well how intentionally misleading it is. Worse, we've yet to see anyone in the corporate media bothering to correct it.
The week that Obama took office in January of 2009, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration it was $1.83/gallon. But that was just after the price of oil had come crashing down on the global market thanks to the crash of the global economy which led to the Great Recession --- all under the leadership of George W. Bush.
- Latest Gingrich ad continues to hammer Obama on gas prices (The Hill)
- Better Living Through Chemistry?: Obama's FDA Issues Voluntary Guidelines to Reduce Antibiotics in Animal Feed:
- FDA Offers Make-Believe Solution to Antibiotic Resistance (NRDC Switchboard) [emphasis in original]:
Instead of taking real action to limit the use of antibiotics in healthy livestock, FDA today announced a final version of their list of recommendations – called a “guidance” – for the livestock industry. (They also put out a draft guidance document with recommendations and guidelines for further voluntary action by industry and a draft proposed rule meant to facilitate such voluntary action.) FDA doesn't actually require the livestock industry to do anything to stop endangering human health. This is an ineffective response to the alarming rise in antibiotic resistance, which threatens human health. The FDA is taking no effective action even as it acknowledges that use of antibiotics in livestock is a (growing) problem.
- FDA Launches Voluntary Plan to Reduce Use of Antibiotics in Animals: (NPR):
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said [Wednesday] it is calling on the nation's pork, beef, and poultry producers to reduce their use of antibiotics. But some watchdog groups say this voluntary guidance doesn't go nearly far enough.
- White House and the F.D.A. Often at Odds (NY Times):
[T]ussles have erupted between top administration officials and the F.D.A. over issues from the regulation of sunscreens and asthma inhalers to the enforcement of an agency decision on a drug to prevent premature births.
- FDA Plan Would Seek Voluntary Limits of Antibiotics in Animal Feed (Washington Post)
- FDA Lays Out Steps To Reduce Overuse of Antibiotics in Animals Raised for Food (AP)
- FDA Says Stop Feeding Antibiotics To Healthy Animals for Growth Promotion" (Chicago Tribune)
- FDA seeks ag antibiotic limits (Omaha World-Herald)
- FDA moving on growth-promoter feed antibiotics? (Maryn McKenna):
“USDA worked with the FDA to ensure that the voices of livestock producers across the country were taken into account,” said Dr. John Clifford, USDA Chief Veterinary Medical Officer, “and we will continue to collaborate with the FDA, the American Veterinary Medical Association and livestock groups to ensure that the appropriate services are available to help make this transition.”
- MORE Better Living Through Chemistry: EPA Approves of 'Agent Orange' Pesticide:
- EPA Caving To The Chemical Industry-Election Year Posturing? (Center for Health, Environment, Justice)
- EPA OKs Pesticide; Major Increase in Use Expected Soon (NRDC Switchboard):
In the EPA denial, the Agency quotes its 1994 conclusion that ‘‘the data are not sufficient to conclude that there is a cause and effect relationship between exposure to 2,4-D and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.’’ Essentially, the Agency is saying that in the absence of animal studies showing a link to cancer, EPA will continue to ignore the multiple human studies which repeatedly show increased rates of this particular cancer in farmers and agricultural workers exposed to the chemical.
- Less than One Month to Comment on Corn Resistant to Agent Orange Herbicide 2,4-D (Huffington Post Green)
- EPA rejects petition to ban popular herbicide (KPCC)
- E.P.A. Denies an Environmental Group’s Request to Ban a Widely Used Weed Killer (NY Times)
- LLOYD's: Global Insurer Warns Against High Risk of Arctic Drilling
- Arctic oil rush will ruin ecosystem, warns Lloyd's of London (Guardian UK):
Insurance market joins environmentalists in highlighting risks of drilling in fragile region as $100bn investment is predicted
Lloyd's of London, the world's biggest insurance market, has become the first major business organisation to raise its voice about huge potential environmental damage from oil drilling in the Arctic.
The City institution estimates that $100bn (£63bn) of new investment is heading for the far north over the next decade, but believes cleaning up any oil spill in the Arctic, particularly in ice-covered areas, would present "multiple obstacles, which together constitute a unique and hard-to-manage risk".
- BP and big oil try to boost safety in an endlessly dangerous game (Guardian UK):
Piper Alpha and Deepwater Horizon brought real change to the oil and gas industries – but still the mishaps creep in
- Total Oil Unable to Stop Offshore Gas Leak in North Sea:
- Total's battle to plug gas leak hit by rough seas (Reuters)
- UK North Sea decommissioning heightens risk of leaks (Reuters)
- Total's North Sea leak draws comparisons with BP (Business Week)
- VIDEO: Total Oil Drilling Leak Adds Pressure to Industry (Washington Post)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- GOP’s worst nightmare: Green Muslims (Grist):
[Y]es, there really is a group called the Green Muslims.
- Study Links Raised Carbon Dioxide Levels to Oyster Die-Offs (NYT Green):
Oyster hatcheries along the Washington and Oregon coastlines began experiencing calamitous die-offs beginning in 2006. Scientists suspected they were because of increased carbon dioxide levels in the air that were causing ocean acidification.
“I think that the clear take-home message from this research is that for the oceans, the Pacific Oyster larvae are the ‘canaries in the coal mines’ for ocean acidification. When the CO2 levels in the ocean are too high, they die; when we lower the CO2 levels, they live,” Richard A. Feely, a co-author of the study and senior scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said in a statement released by the Center for Biological Diversity.
- The Worst Farm Bill Ever? (Mother Jones):
Take Big Ag's lobbying power and add a big pinch of fiscal hysteria and what you get is thin gruel for everything else in the farm bill, which could could choke off the USDA's progressive-ag programs and even result in sharp cuts to hunger programs at a time of high un- and underemployment.
- NYT's Magical Thinking on Climate Impacts: Special Report --- Fuel to Burn: Now What? (NY Times):
The reversal of fortune in America’s energy supplies in recent years holds the promise of abundant and cheaper fuel, and it could have profound effects on what people drive, domestic manufacturing and America’s foreign policy.
It might also pose new environmental challenges, both predictable and unforeseen, by damping enthusiasm for clean forms of energy and derailing efforts to wean the nation from its wasteful energy habits.
- Coaxing American Chestnuts Back to Appalachia: (NYT Green):
Old swaths of Appalachian forest land left barren by decades of coal mining may find their past is their future, if efforts to restore the American chestnut tree in reclaimed coal fields are successful. Over the next three years, more than 360 acres in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee will be planted with a variety of American chestnut trees bred to resist chestnut blight.
- Proposed Coal-Fired Power Plant Cancelled in Georgia (Environment News Service):
Clean air advocates and environmental groups won a victory Monday when the utility consortium Power4Georgians agreed to cancel its proposal to build a coal-fired power plant near Fitzgerald in Ben Hill County, Georgia.
- Wisconsin: Migratory Birds Set Records for Early Appearance: (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel):
News of Wisconsin's rare spring heat wave traveled far --- even black-necked stilts, blue-gray gnatcatchers and Savannah sparrows knew March felt like July. So they revised their travel plans.
- Tennessee Enacts Evolution, Climate Change Law: (LA Times):
Tennessee enacted a law Tuesday that critics contend allows public school teachers to challenge climate change and evolution in their classrooms without fear of sanction.
- Actually, not that many fish in the sea (Op-ed, Oregon Live):
Atlantic stocks have been nearly wiped out following decades of heavy fishing. As G. Brown Goode quoted the proprietors of the New England Halibut Co. in 1884, "We take out anywhere from 8,000 to 10,000 pounds of halibut an hour, under ordinary circumstances --- more if the chance is favorable. The best we ever did was in 1878, when we took a trip of 42,000 pounds out of the George P. Whitman in an hour and three-quarters."
- 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%.
- 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.
- 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.
- Pew poll: Clean energy still popular among everyone except older conservatives (Grist.org)
- 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."