With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 5/17/2012, 2:46pm PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: House GOP attacks America's clean energy industry --- again; Solar becoming cheaper than coal --- finally; Coal industry panicking --- naturally; Americans willing to pay more for clean energy, as long as it's not nuclear; PLUS: Australians are hot --- the hottest they've been in a thousand years ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): New GA nukes: $900m over-budget; Toxins in US breast milk?; US imposes tariffs on Chinese solar; New efficiency standards for major household appliances; Insecticide resistance threatens malaria fight; NRC pares back evacuations, disaster drills near nuclear plants; Rifts at UN climate talks in Bonn ... PLUS: 5 Things You Should Know About Clean Energy Investments ... and much, MUCH more! ...

STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...

'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...

  • $900m Over-budget: A Higher Price Tag for a Nuclear Project (NYT Green):
    The flagship project of a hoped-for but not-yet-realized “nuclear renaissance,” the Vogtle 3 and 4 reactors under construction near Augusta, Ga., may cost about $900 million more than had been estimated, the Southern Company said in a filing this week with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
  • As Congress Continues Its Witch Hunt, Here Are Five Things You Should Know About Clean Energy Investments (Climate Progress):
    1. The 1603 grant program supported up to 75,000 jobs and 23,000 renewable energy projects during the height of the recession.
  • Toxins In US Moms' Breast Milk (NPR's Fresh Air):
    When writer Florence Williams was nursing her second child, she read a research study about toxins found in human breast milk. She decided to test her own breast milk and shipped a sample to a lab in Germany. What came back surprised her. Trace amounts of pesticides, dioxin and a jet fuel ingredient — as well as high to average levels of flame retardants — were all found in her breast milk. How could something like this happen?
  • US imposes tariffs on underpriced solar imports from Chinese companies (The Hill's E2 Wire):
    Commerce preliminarily ordered U.S. Customs to impose tariffs of between 31 and 250 percent on various Chinese companies.
  • New Standards for Clothes Washers and Dishwashers Great News for Consumers (NRDC Switchboard):
    The standards issued by DOE today will require clothes washers to use up to 35 percent less energy by 2018.
  • Extreme Weather: Extreme Rain Doubled In Midwest: Climate Study (Reuters):
    The number of extreme rainstorms - deluges that dump 3 inches or more in a day - doubled in the U.S. Midwest over the last half-century, causing billions of dollars in flood damage in a trend climate advocates link to a rise in greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Insecticide resistance threatens malaria fight (Reuters):
    Malaria-carrying mosquitoes in Africa and India are becoming resistant to insecticides, putting millions of lives at greater risk and threatening eradication efforts, health experts said on Tuesday.
  • U.S. asthma rates at all-time high, CDC says (LA Times)
  • San Onofre's future hinges on finding cause of abnormal tube wear (LA Times):
    The root of the problem at the nuclear plant is still a mystery. A key issue is whether Edison or ratepayers will have to cover the cost of replacement power.
  • NRC Pares Back Evacuations, Disasater Drills Near Nuclear Plants (AP):
    Without fanfare, the nation's nuclear power regulators have overhauled community emergency planning for the first time in more than three decades, requiring fewer exercises for major accidents and recommending that fewer people be evacuated right away.
  • Bonn climate talks: EU plays down talk of Kyoto protocol rift (Guardian UK):
    Under the terms of the Durban Platform agreed at last year's UN climate summit, the EU said it would sign on to an extension of the Kyoto protocol before it lapses at the end of this year in return for an agreement from all nations that a new binding treaty will be finalised by 2015 and enacted by 2020.
    ...
    However, negotiators are divided over how long the extended Kyoto protocol should operate, with developing countries insisting the treaty should continue to be enforced over five-year commitment periods, and the EU expressing its preference for an eight-year commitment period that would allow it to be replaced by the new international treaty in 2020.
  • NASA Discovers Yet Another Terrifying Global Warming Feedback Loop (Treehugger) [emphasis added]:
    Researchers have known for years that large amounts of methane are frozen in Arctic tundra soils and in marine sediments ... But now a multi-institutional study led by Eric Kort of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has uncovered a surprising and potentially important new source of methane: the Arctic Ocean itself.
  • U.S. Coal Generation Drops 19 Percent In One Year, Leaving Coal With 36 Percent Share Of Electricity (Climate Progress):
    According to new figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, coal made up 36 percent of U.S. electricity in the first quarter of 2012 — down from 44.6 percent in the first quarter of 2011.
  • Why power generators are terrified of solar (Crikey blog) [emphasis added]:
    Here is a pair of graphs that demonstrate most vividly the merit order effect and the impact that solar is having on electricity prices in Germany; and why utilities there and elsewhere are desperate to try to rein in the growth of solar PV in Europe. It may also explain why Australian generators are fighting so hard against the extension of feed-in tariffs in this country.
    ..
    Essentially, it means that solar PV is not just licking the cream off the profits of the fossil fuel generators — as happens in Australia with a more modest rollout of PV — it is in fact eating their entire cake.
  • Death on Earth: how the world's wildlife vanished (Independent UK):
    The world's wildlife has declined by nearly a third over the past 40 years, a new estimate of the health of the planet suggests.
  • A Cloudy Day for Climate Skeptics: Mainstream Research Discredits Lindzen Theory of Low Climate Sensitivity (Climate Progress)
  • Distorting science: Makers of flame retardants manipulate research findings to back their products, downplay health risks (Chicago Tribune):
    Manufacturers of flame retardants would repeatedly point to this government study as key proof that these toxic chemicals — embedded in many common household items — prevented residential fires and saved lives. But the study's lead author, Vytenis Babrauskas, told the Tribune that industry officials have "grossly distorted" the findings of his research, which was not based on real-world conditions. The small amounts of flame retardants in typical home furnishings, he said, offer little to no fire protection.

    "Industry has used this study in ways that are improper and untruthful," he said.

  • Essential Climate Science Findings: