IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: It's official: US drought is now declared a natural disaster; Massive anti-nuke protests in Japan; Kalamazoo River tar sands pipeline spill was entirely preventable; PLUS: Shell Oil's excellent adventure in the Arctic gets off to a rocky start ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): BLM gives away US coal, subsidizes China; GOP obstruction threatens coal miners; Koreas in worst drought in 100 years; Romney supports end of wind tax credit that would kill thousands of jobs; Greenland calves another massive iceberg; EPA drops CAFO reporting rule; FDA spied on scientists; Food safety inspection cuts; PG&E 'downgraded' pipeline safety probs to save money ... PLUS: Apple rejoins green registry, admitting its exit was a mistake ... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI): Green Energy Funding Is Like Soviet Union:
- CNN'S Soledad O'Brien Deflates Right-Wing Media Myth That Green Energy Investments Were "Crony Capitalism" (Media Matters.org):
- It's Official: USDA Declares Midwest Drought a "Natural Disaster":
- Graph: 2012 Drought Rivals Dust Bowl (Weather Channel)
- Drought leads to declaration of natural disaster in 26 US states (Guardian UK):
It was the largest declaration of a national disaster and was intended to speed relief to about a third of the country's farmers and ranchers who are suffering in drought conditions.
- VIDEO: Heidi Cullen Talks Drought, Extremes on MSNBC (Climate Central):
- Aid Welcomed by Drought-Stricken States Facing Crop Loss (Bloomberg News)
- Amid unusually widespread drought, warnings on food prices (CS Monitor)
- Electricity Generation "Burning" Rivers of Drought-Scorched Southeast: New report reckons the water cost of electricity generation (Scientific American)
- Most Americans Understand Climate Is Warming And Making Droughts Worse, 77% Say We Should Limit Carbon Pollution (Climate Progress)
- We’re Already Topping Dust Bowl Temperatures — Imagine What’ll Happen If We Fail To Stop 10°F Warming (Climate Progress):
Why is this bad news? Because the Earth has warmed only a bit more than 1°F since the catastrophic Dust Bowl — and we are poised to warm an astounding 9-11°F this century if we stay anywhere near our current greenhouse gas emissions path.
- NO Fracking Insurance for YOU:
- US Insurer Won't Cover Gas Drill Fracking Exposure (AP):
Health and environmental groups claim fracking can contaminate drinking water. The gas industry says it's safe if done properly. Nationwide said risks involved in fracking operations "are too great to ignore" and apply to policies of commercial contractors and landowners who lease property to gas companies.
- Can fracking contaminate drinking water? (New Scientist):
Geologists say this potentially harmful fluid is unlikely to percolate up through a few kilometres of rock to reach the shallow aquifers that supply drinking water – but Avner Vengosh of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, thinks the methane itself could do so. The gas would be an explosion risk.
- What... no "Fracking Insurance"? (Marcellus Effect)
- Judge Rules Clean Air is a 'Public Trust':
- Texas judge rules atmosphere, air is public trust (AP):
The written ruling, issued in a letter Monday by Texas District Court Judge Gisela Triana, shot down arguments by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality that only water is a "public trust," a doctrine that dates to the Roman Empire stating a government must protect certain resources - usually water, sometimes wildlife - for the common good.
- Public trust question lingers over emissions suit in Texas (Fuel Fix):
A judge ruled in favor of a group of minors, including a 3-year-old boy, who sued the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for failing to uphold the public trust doctrine by refusing to curb carbon emissions/
- JAPAN: Massive Anti-Nuke Protests, Report Blames Fukushima "Collusion":
- Japanese parliament report: Fukushima nuclear crisis was 'man-made' (CNN):
The report by the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission outlines errors and willful negligence at the plant before the earthquake and tsunami that devastated swaths of northeastern Japan on March 11 last year, and a flawed response in the hours, days and weeks that followed. It also offers recommendations and encourages the nation's parliament to "thoroughly debate and deliberate" the suggestions.
- Report: Fukushima Disaster Was A Man-Made Crisis (NPR)
- VIDEO: Japan protests return to nuclear power (Reuters)
- Tokyo Rally Is Biggest Yet to Oppose Nuclear Plan (NY Times):
Organizers said 170,000 people filled a Tokyo square to sing songs, beat drums and cheer on a series of high-profile speakers who called for more Japanese to make their voices heard. The police put the number at 75,000, still making it the biggest gathering of antinuclear protesters since the Fukushima accident last year.
- VIDEO: Fukushima Report Blames "Collusion" (Reuters)
- NTSB Slams Enbridge for Kalamazoo River Pipeline Spill:
- Federal Agency Blames 'Complete Breakdown of Safety at Enbridge' for 2010 Oil Spill (Inside Climate):
Weak federal regulations and oversight allowed the company to avoid repairing a known defect that led to the million-gallon pipeline rupture.
- Inside Climate In-Depth Special Series: The DilBit Disaster: Inside the Biggest Oil Spill You've Never Heard Of (Inside Climate News)
- Record Fine Against Enbridge for Michigan Oil Pipeline Spill (Inside Climate News)
- VIDEO: NTSB Report finds oil company failures enabled disastrous spill (The Rachel Maddow Show, MSNBC):
- Enbridge failed to fix cracks in leaking Michigan pipeline (CBC Canada):
Enbridge like 'Keystone Kops' in poor handling of pipe rupture, NTSB head says
- Enbridge says pipeline safe after NTSB blasts company (Reuters)
- Signals, noise, and eco-disaster at Enbridge (MacLeans Canada):
[T]he leak may physically have happened to a bunch of poor bastards in Michigan, but the real problem was here, in Edmonton. This is where pipeline controllers—tired, young, inexperienced pipeline controllers working in a somewhat dysfunctional environment—struggled for long hours to interpret pressure readings as anything but the unthinkable.
- NTSB blames Enbridge, ‘weak’ regulations in Kalamazoo oil spill (Washington Post)
- Shell Oil's Arctic Adventure, Off to a Rocky Start:
- Shell Loses Control Of Arctic Drilling Rig In Alaskan Harbor (Climate Progress)
- Shell celebrates new Alaska drilling by apparently losing control of a ship
- Shell Clarifies: It Can ‘Encounter’ 95 Percent Of An Arctic Oil Spill, Not Collect It (Climate Progress)
- Shell Asks EPA to Waive Air-quality Rules for Arctic Drilling: Multinational Oil Company Says It Cannot Meet Arctic Clean-air Standards (Center for Biological Diversity)
- Op-ed: Corporate ‘Shell’ game on Arctic drilling (Op-Ed, Summit Co. Citizens Voice):
Facing pressure from shareholders to produce oil in the Arctic, Shell is pushing ahead with plans for exploratory drilling even though the company apparently can’t meet standards set to protect the environment.
Last week, the company said its drillship Noble Discovery won’t be able to meet air quality emission standards. Shell is asking the EPA to relax those rules, set to protect public health and the environment. Similarly, it’s not at all clear if the company can meet its obligations to clean up a spill with existing equipment.
- Shell: Divers Find No Signs of Grounding (KTUU Anchorage)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Powder River Coal – Huge Coal Giveaways Have Made Coal Artificially Cheap, and Subsidized China (Peter Sinclair's Climate Crock of the Week):
Taxpayers missed out on an estimated $28.9 billion in revenues over 30 years due to the failure of the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to get fair market value for U.S.-owned coal mined in the Powder River Basin, which currently produces 44 percent of the nation’s coal, according to a major new analysis by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).
- BLM ‘Auctions’ 720-Million-Ton North Porcupine Coal Tract To Single Bidder For $1.10 A Ton (Climate Progress)
- STUDY: Media Silent As GOP Obstruction Threatens Coal Miners (Media Matters.org):
Major news networks have largely ignored Republican obstruction of a regulation addressing the recent resurgence of black lung, a disease caused by coal mine dust. By contrast, media coverage of the Republican narrative about "job-killing regulations" has been abundant, indicating that news outlets let the Republican Party define the media discourse about regulation of the coal industry.
- Korean Drought Worst In A Century For North And South Korea (Huffington Post)
- Mitt Romney Supports An End To Wind Tax Credit, Which Could ‘Mean The Loss Of Several Thousand Jobs’ (Climate Progress)
- Greenland's Peterman Glacier Calves ANOTHER Massive Iceberg (Climate Progress)
- EPA drops proposed CAFO reporting rule: (Washington Post):
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency won't adopt a proposed rule that would have required large livestock farms to report information about their operations.
- FDA Reveals Extensive Surveillance of Scientists: (NY Times):
Federal health officials faced pressure from Capitol Hill and outside groups on Monday to investigate a wide-ranging surveillance program that the Food and Drug Administration mounted against a group of its scientists who raised warnings about the safety of medical imaging devices.
- PG&E Memo: Downgrading leaks could cut costs: (SF Chronicle):
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. suggested to managers before the San Bruno pipeline explosion that downgrading more than 2,300 natural-gas leaks - and potentially not fixing them - would save the company nearly $5 million, according to an internal document obtained by The Chronicle.
- Produce-Safety testing program on chopping block: (Washington POst):
Congress is poised to scrap funding for the only program that consistently tests select vegetables and fruit for pathogens --- an initiative that’s led to about 30 recalls since 2009.
- Apple rejoins green registry, admits exit was a mistake (Reuters):
Apple Inc rejoined the EPEAT environmental ratings system on Friday, acknowledging that its decision to stop participating in a program that rates the green credentials of electronic products was a mistake.
- Must-See Videos: ABC Interviews Climatologist Michael Mann (Climate Progress)
- Essential Climate Science Findings:
- Skeptical Science: Get the FULL DEBUNKING of ALL Climate Science Denier Arguments
- 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.
- 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)
- Thinking Big: NREL Study Shows 80 Percent Renewables Possible By 2050 (Climate Progress)
- 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."