IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Billionaire codger cage match: T. Boone Pickens picks on the Billionaire Koch Brothers; U.S. military prepares for climate change; Japan: nuke-free, but not worry free; Dino-Farts! PLUS: Billboard blowback - funders flee from Heartland Institute's Unabomber billboard blunder .... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Flipping the Switch on Solar Plant on Public Lands; Common Pesticide “Disturbs” the Brains of Children; Data Shows Spring Advancing Faster Than Experiments Suggest; Keystone pipeline is baaack; Carmakers standardize 15-min faster charging system for electric vehicles ... PLUS: What is going on with Peru's dolphins and pelicans?... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- SBDs: Dinosaur Farts Influenced Global Warming:
- Inherit the wind: dinosaurs blamed for changing climate (Sydney Morning Herald):
Huge plant-eating dinosaurs may have produced enough greenhouse gas by breaking wind to alter the Earth's climate, new research suggests. Like leviathan cows, the mighty sauropods would have generated enormous quantities of methane.
- The U.S. does not have [MIUCH OF] an alternative fueling infrastructure [YET] (LA Times):
To get a sense of how many alternative fueling stations the U.S. might need some day, consider the number of locations around the nation that have gasoline pumps. The Energy Department says that there are 160,000 gasoline stations around the U.S. but just 10,000 alternative fuel stations across the 48 contiguous states.
- US Military Prepares for Climate Change with Energy Innovation:
- VIDEO: Sec. Panetta Remarks on Climate Change, Energy (Pentagon Channel)
- Panetta: Environment Emerges as National Security Concern (American Forces Press Service)
- Transcript: Sec. Panetta Remarks at Environmental Defense Fund Reception
As Delivered by Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta (Dept. of Defense)
- Defense Secretary Leon Panetta: ‘Climate Change Has A Dramatic Impact On National Security’ (Climate Progress)
- Panetta links environment, energy and national security in groundbreaking speech (E & E News):
In remarks made at a Washington, D.C., reception held by the Environmental Defense Fund, Panetta became the highest-level official to draw a clear line between environmental, energy and security issues since their relationship was formally established in Pentagon strategy two years ago
Last night, he said that rising seas, extended droughts and more frequent and severe natural disasters stand to raise demand for humanitarian assistance from the U.S. military.
Noting that melting polar ice caps are prompting competing claims in the mineral-rich Arctic, Panetta issued a clarion call for the United States to ratify the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea.
- Big Idea: A Green Energy Offensive From the Department of Defense (GOOD Magazine)
- Billionaire Codger Cage Match: Pickens Slams Kochs' Avarice, Obstruction:
- VIDEO: T. Boone Pickens: 'The Biggest Deterrent To An Energy Plan In America Is Koch Industries' (Climate Progress):
- OP-ED: Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem. (Washington Post):
We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional. In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.
- JAPAN: Now Nuke-Free, But Not Worry-Free:
- VIDEO: Protestors celebrate as Japan turns off last nuclear reactor (BBC)
- The Worst Yet to Come? Why Nuclear Experts Are Calling Fukushima a Ticking Time-Bomb: Experts say acknowledging the threat would call into question the safety of dozens of identically designed nuclear power plants in the U.S. (Alternet)
- Anxious Japan prepares for life without nuclear power (Guardian UK):
Japan has 54 nuclear reactors, but as of Saturday, not one of them will be in operation - how will the country cope?
- Nuclear-free Japan braces for severe power shortages (Reuters)
- The eye-watering expense of nuclear power (Guardian UK):
The coalition wants us to depend more and more on nuclear power, but quite simply, it is too expensive to be able to deliver
- BILLBOARD BLOWBACK: Heartland Institute's Unabomber Billboard Bombs, Even with Deniers:
- Heartland Pulls Billboard on Global Warming (NYT Green)
- Heartland Institute Losing Major Corporate Sponsors (MongaBay),/li>
- Even denialist Rep. Sensenbrenner recoiled at loathsome Heartland Institute Unabomber global warming billboard (Climate Science Watch)
- Insurers Pull Support For Heartland Institute After Campaign Likens Climate Change Supporters To Terrorists, Murderers (Hartford Courant)
- Diageo to end funding of Heartland Institute after climate change outburst: Firm has 'no plans' to work with thinktank following campaign comparing people concerned about climate to mass murderers
- As Supporters Jump Ship, Heartland Institute Stands By Its Widely Condemned Anti-Science Hate Speech (Climate Progress)
- Heartland Institute Compares Climate Science Believers And Reporters To Mass 'Murderers And Madmen' (Climate Progress)
- The Heartland Billboard Embarrassment and the Dangers of Ideological Ignorance (Huffington Post Green)
- Heartland climate conference keeps sponsors despite billboard controversy (The Hill's E2 Wire)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Flipping the Switch: First Solar Plant on Public Lands Now Delivering Power: (SF Gate):
The first commercial solar array approved and built on federal public land began producing electricity Monday from a sun-baked site in the Mojave Desert south of Las Vegas near the Nevada-California state line.
- Common Pesticide “Disturbs” the Brains of Children (Scientific American):
Banned for indoor use since 2001, the effects of the common insecticide known as chlorpyrifos can still be found in the brains of young children now approaching puberty.
- Decades Of Data Show Spring Advancing Faster Than Experiments Suggest (Climate Progress):
"This suggests that predicted ecosystem changes - including continuing advances in the start of spring across much of the globe - may be far greater than current estimates based on data from warming experiments."
- Arabic Records Allow Past Climate to Be Reconstructed (Science Daily):
Corals, trees and marine sediments, among others, are direct evidence of the climate of the past, but they are not the only indicators. A team led by Spanish scientists has interpreted records written in Iraq by Arabic historians for the first time and has made a chronology of climatic events from the year 816 to 1009, when cold waves and snow were normal.
- How the U.S. could influence China’s coal habits — with exports (Washington Post)
- Increasing speed of Greenland glaciers gives new insight for rising sea level (PhysOrg):
Changes in the speed that ice travels in more than 200 outlet glaciers indicates that Greenland's contribution to rising sea level in the 21st century might be significantly less than the upper limits some scientists thought possible, a new study shows.
- Environmental group sues to halt killing practices of federal wildlife agency (Sacramento Bee):
The federal government's wildlife damage control program is based on outdated science and indiscriminate tools that kill many non-target animals, including protected species, according to a lawsuit filed Monday by WildEarth Guardians, a Colorado-based environmental group.
- Clean Energy At Airports Could Find Space Around Runways, Study Says (Huffington Post Green)
- It's Baaack: Keystone pipeline in focus as highway talks begin (The Hill's E2 Wire)
- Lights Out for Research Satellites? (NY Times):
Earth-observing systems operated by the United States have entered a steep decline, imperiling the nation's monitoring of weather, natural disasters and climate change, a report from the National Research Council warned on Wednesday.
- Carmakers standardize 15-min faster charging system for electric vehicles: (Environment News Service):
Eight U.S. and German automakers have agreed to utilize a fast-charging technology that recharges EV batteries in just
15 to 20 minutes. Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Porsche and Volkswagen have agreed to support a harmonized single-port fast charging approach - called DC Fast Charging with a Combined Charging System - for use on electric vehicles in Europe and the United States.
- What is going on with Peru's dolphins and pelicans? (Mother Jones):
Something awful is happening in the waters off Peru's northern coast, where some 3,000 dolphins have died and washed ashore since January."
Necropsies of dead animals by veterinarians point tentatively to the possibility of ear injuries (which might be caused by seismic testing by oil and gas companies) and infectious outbreaks for the dolphins, and possible starvation caused by lack of anchovies (a result of changing ocean conditions) for the birds. No clear conclusions have been drawn.
- Studies Raise Questions About Pavement Sealers (Environmental Health News):
Airborne emissions and stray dust from coal tar-based sealers, one of the two main types of products used to coat certain asphalt pavements, may be a more significant human health threat than previously thought, according to three new studies and a review published by U.S. government and university researchers.
- EPA Moves To Regulate Logging-Road Runoff as Supreme Court Eyes Case (Greenwire):
At issue, EPA said, is a controversial 2010 ruling by the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that tossed out the agency's 35-year-old policy of allowing loggers to use best management practices instead of pollution-discharge permits. Trying to soothe its critics, EPA said in a statement that it is considering "flexible" options --- including some that would require no permit --- in recognition of some land-management practices in use to minimize the water pollution from forest roads.
- Midwest Generation To Close 2 Chicago Coal Plants Early (Chicago Tribune):
Chicago is the only major U.S. city with coal plants operating within its borders. For years, environmental and community groups have blamed Fisk and Crawford for high asthma rates and other health problems in their predominantly Latino, low-income neighborhoods. A 2010 report by the National Research Council estimated that pollution from the coal plants costs surrounding areas $127 million a year in hidden health costs.
- Rising Coal Exports Have Montana Rail Communities Braced for Worst (Daily Climate)
- American Enterprise Institute And Brookings Must-Read: 'The Republicans Are The Problem' (Climate Progress):
Two leading political scholars - representing the conservative American Enterprise Institute and the centrist Brookings Institution - have published a must-read article, "Let's just say it: The Republicans are the problem."
- Plant Study Flags Dangers Of Warming World (Reuters):
"Increased carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels can affect how plants produce oxygen, while higher temperatures and variable rainfall patterns can change their behavior.
- Well, MEOW: VIDEO: T. Boone Pickens: 'The Biggest Deterrent To An Energy Plan In America Is Koch Industries' (Climate Progress):
The biggest deterrent to an energy plan in America is Koch Industries," the BP Capital founder tells Yahoo's Aaron Task. "They do not want an energy plan for America because they have the cheapest natural gas price they've ever had, and they're in the fertilizer business and they're in the chemical business. So their margins are huge. And they do not want you to have an energy plan, because if you had a plan, then natural gas prices would come up.
- US solar subsidies consistent with coal, oil: report (Reuters):
U.S. government support for solar energy is no different from its support for traditional energy sources, despite critics' complaints that the renewable energy source has gotten special incentives, a new solar-industry backed report found.
- Coal business update: 'Severe weakness' cited in U.S. markets (Coal Tattoo)
- Coal's Future Is Rocky at Best (BusinessWeek):
Coal is in a struggle with a perfect adversary: ultracheap natural gas.
- Analysis: Dow's new GMO corn: "time bomb" or farmers' dream? (Reuters):
Opponents include some specialty crop farmers who fear 2,4-D herbicide use could cause widespread damage to crops that are not engineered with a tolerance to it. It is so potent that its use is tightly restricted in some areas and at certain times of the year in some U.S. states.
- Nuclear Safety Advocates Accuse Industry And Regulators Of Foot-Dragging On Basic Safety Measures (Huffington Post Green):
[W]hat if the Pilgrim plant experienced a meltdown like the one that unfolded just over a year ago in Fukushima, Japan?
"I live just six miles from that plant across open water," says Lampert, a staunch advocate for tougher oversight of the nuclear power industry. "It always comes down to public safety versus the cost to industry of implementing something."
- Climate Change Has Intensified the Global Water Cycle (Climate Central):
Based on measurements gathered around the world from 1950-2000, a team of researchers from Australia and the U.S. has concluded that the hydrologic cycle is indeed changing. Wet areas are getting wetter and dry areas are getting drier. But it's happening about twice as fast as anyone thought, and that could mean big trouble for places like Australia, which has already been experiencing crushing drought in recent years.
- IBM R&D Working to Give Electric Cars 500 Miles of Range With Lithium-Air Batteries (Treehugger)
- Plastic pollution in ocean likely underestimated, researchers say (California Watch):
[R]esearchers from the Universities of Washington and Delaware and the Sea Education Association in Woods Hole, Mass., say the [Pacific Garbage Patch] is much bigger, and scarier, than that. They say scientists have only skimmed the surface on the devastating pollution caused by plastic debris in the ocean, and the research community is likely underestimating the amount of plastic in the ocean.
- LA opens rooftops for solar energy installations (Gimag):
The recent approval of a Feed-in-Tarriff (FiT) rooftop solar program known as CLEAN LA Solar by the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power opens up over 12,000 acres of potential rooftop space for solar development.
- Shocker: The Killing Agency: USDA's Wildlife Services' Brutal Methods Leave A Trail of Death (Sacramento Bee):
[A] Bee investigation has found the agency's practices to be indiscriminate, at odds with science, inhumane and sometimes illegal.
- Clouds' Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dissenters (NY Times):
His idea has drawn withering criticism from other scientists, who cite errors in his papers and say proof is lacking. Enough evidence is already in hand, they say, to rule out the powerful cooling effect from clouds that would be needed to offset the increase of greenhouse gases.
- Warm Ocean Currents Eroding Antarctic Ice Shelves (Environment News Service):
Warm ocean currents flowing beneath ice shelves are the main cause of recent ice loss from Antarctica, concludes a study by an international research team published today. The finding brings scientists closer to providing reliable projections of future sea level rise. Using measurements from NASA's Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite, ICESat, in combination with computer models, the researchers were able to distinguish between warm ocean currents thawing the ice sheets from below and warm air melting them from above.
- Skeptical Science: Get the FULL DEBUNKING of ALL Climate Science Denier Arguments
- 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.
- 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."