IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Congressional Republicans attack the military's clean energy programs; NC Republicans vote to outlaw physics; Germany sets solar energy world record; Warming Arctic now growing 'pop-up forests'; PLUS: US wildfire season, off to a roaring --- and record --- start... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Top 5 US cities most vulnerable to hurricanes; House GOP's 7 bills increasing drilling, rolling back public health standards; Cost of deaths from coal pollution higher than value of electricity produced; Big US firms to develop plant-based plastics; Secrets of the first artificial leaf; Geo-engineering may disrupt rainfall; Solar Plane completes intercontinental voyage; Why are US taxpayers subsidizing the coal industry? ... PLUS: Warning: you are approaching a state shift in Earth's biosphere ... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- NM Wildfire Largest in State History:
- USA's largest wildfire continues to scorch New Mexico (AP)
- New Mexico Wildfire Now a Record-Setting 'Megafire', Budget Cuts In Congress May Undermine Federal Response (Climate Progress)
- Feds consider regional challenges in fire planning (AP)
- Record-setting New Mexico fire expected to burn for weeks: New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona bracing for the worst (MSNBC)
- Warming Arctic Now Growing 'Pop-Up' Forests:
- Warming Arctic Tundra Producing Pop-Up Forests (NYT Dot Earth):
In this part of the Arctic, which could be a bellwether for changes to come elsewhere with greenhouse-driven warming, what might be called pop-up forests are forming. Low tundra shrubs, many of which are willow and alder species, have rapidly grown into small trees over the last 50 years, according to the study, led by scientists from the Biodiversity Institute at the University of Oxford and the Arctic Center of the University of Lapland.
- Unprecedented May Heat In Greenland, Temperature Hits Stunning 76.6°F (Climate Progress)
- Sec. of State Hillary Clinton Calls For ‘More Action In The Fight Against Climate Change’ (Climate Progress)
- Arctic ice melt prelude to severe winters (Economic Times of India):
The dramatic melt-off of Arctic sea ice due to climate change could lead to severe winter outbreaks, reveals a [Cornell University] study.
"Everyone thinks of Arctic climate change as this remote phenomenon that has little effect on our everyday lives," Greene said. "But what goes on in the Arctic remotely forces our weather patterns here."
- NC Republicans Vote to Outlaw Scientists Using Science:
- North Carolina Bill Would Require Coastal Communities To Ignore Global Warming Science (Climate Progress):
Some North Carolina GOP legislators want to stop the use of science to plan for the future. They are circulating a bill that would force coastal counties to ignore actual observations and the best science-based projections in planning for future sea level rise.
- Must-See Colbert Report On North Carolina GOP Bill To Make Use Of Climate Science Illegal (Climate Progress):
- Republicans Attempt to Block DoD's Renewable Energy Programs:
- Soaked With Oil Cash, Republicans Block Military's Push To Use Clean Energy (Think Progress) [emphasis added]:
The House GOP included a measure in the defense authorization bill this month prohibiting the Defense Department from buying alternative fuels if they cost more than "traditional fossil fuel." And the Senate Armed Services Committee last week followed suit with an "even tougher" provision mirroring the House version but also exempts DOD from clean energy standards.
Two Senate Democrats, Jim Webb (VA) and Joe Manchin (WV) joined the Armed Services Committee Republicans in voting for the measure.
- Republicans try to force the military to use dirty energy it doesn't want (David Roberts, Grist)
- House Republicans Try to Cut Military's Clean Energy Initiatives (Clean Technica)
- VIDEO: It Ain't Easy Going Green [for the US Military]: (Dylan Ratigan, MSNBC):
- Germany Sets Solar Energy World Record:
- Germany sets solar record, meets half of electricity demand (Wired)
- Germany sets new solar power record, institute says (Reuters):
German solar power plants produced a world record 22 gigawatts of electricity per hour - equal to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity - through the midday hours on Friday and Saturday, the head of a renewable energy think tank said.
Germany has nearly as much installed solar power generation capacity as the rest of the world combined and gets about four percent of its overall annual electricity needs from the sun alone. It aims to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2020.
- 22.24 GW of PV-Solar Output in Germany - New Record! (Clean Technica)
- Having recently set a world record for solar-power production, Germany may one day end its reliance on fossil fuels altogether. (Daivd Suzuki, The Mark)
- Why power generators are terrified of solar (Crikey blog) [emphasis added]:
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.
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Top 5 Most Vulnerable U.S. Cities to Hurricanes (Climate Central):
A key issue facing many East Coast cities, in particular, is that sea level rise due to global warming and land elevation changes is already making it easier for damaging storm surge flooding to take place, even during weaker hurricanes. That was also taken into account when preparing this list.
1. Tampa-St. Petersburg [location of the RNC 2012 convention...]
- House GOP Unveil Energy Package Of 7 Bills Mandating More Drilling And Rolling Back Public Health Standards (Climate Progress):
It combines seven bills passed by House committees that include measures to block public health safeguards from smog and toxic air pollution, mandate drilling public lands, and punish citizens for raising concerns about harm from oil and gas production on places owned by all Americans. It is specifically designed to increase oil and gas development.
- Cost of Deaths From 18 Coal-Fired Power Plants’ Pollution Higher Than Value of Electricity Generated: report (Environmental Integrity Project):
Between 2,700 and 5,700 deaths a year at a cost of $23 to $47 billion can be attributed to pollution from 51 of the dirtiest coal fired power plants in the United States. Even using the most conservative estimate, the estimated cost to society of the premature deaths caused by 18 of the power plants actually exceeded the retail value of the electricity generated by each facility in 2011.
- Big U.S. Firms Team Up On Plant Plastics (Reuters):
Coca-Cola Co, Ford Motor Co, H.J. Heinz Co, Nike Inc and Procter & Gamble Co said on Tuesday they are committed to advancing research and development to support a commercially viable, sustainably sourced plastic made entirely from plant materials, while reducing the use of fossil fuels.
- Secrets of the First Practical Artificial Leaf (Science Daily):
[U]nlike earlier devices, which used costly ingredients, the new device is made from inexpensive materials and employs low-cost engineering and manufacturing processes.
The artificial leaf has a sunlight collector sandwiched between two films that generate oxygen and hydrogen gas. When dropped into a jar of water in the sunlight, it bubbles away, releasing hydrogen that can be used in fuel cells to make electricity.
- Scientists warn geoengineering may disrupt rainfall (Reuters):
Critics also point to a lack of solid research into unintended consequences and the absence of any international governance structure for such projects, whose effects could transcend national borders.
- Solar plane completes maiden intercontinental trip (Reuters):
A solar energy plane landed in Morocco on Tuesday, completing the world's first intercontinental flight powered by the sun to show the potential for pollution-free air travel.
- Why are U.S. taxpayers subsidizing coal mining? (David Roberts, Grist)
- Warning: Approaching a state shift in Earth's biosphere:
- Report: Humans near tipping point that could dramatically change Earth (CS Monitor):
Human activity is affecting Earth in many ways, but a new study suggests that continued population growth and its impact on climate and ecology could trigger a more profound chain reaction of effects within little more than a decade.
- Approaching a state shift in Earth's biosphere (Nature):
Localized ecological systems are known to shift abruptly and irreversibly from one state to another when they are forced across critical thresholds. Here we review evidence that the global ecosystem as a whole can react in the same way and is approaching a planetary-scale critical transition as a result of human influence.
- 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."