IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Deadly floods in China, drought in Europe - global food prices rise as extreme weather hammers crops across the planet; Germany warns time is running out to cut emissions; EPA to pull back on new mercury pollution standards?; PLUS: Mutants in Florida: pushing back against the Franken-skeeter! ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): BC premiere criticizes tar sands pipeline; "Experts" wrong again on renewable energy predictions; "Perfect storm" on Gulf dolphin deaths; Michael Mann threatens to sue over conservative media's Sandusky comparison; Fukushima: workers' radiation levels faked? ... PLUS: Fossil fuels and global warming's terrifying new math ... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- EPA to Pull Back on New Mercury Standards?:
- E.P.A. to Consider Relaxing an Air Pollution Rule (NYT Green):
The Environmental Protection Agency announced on Friday afternoon that it would review its new standards for mercury, soot and other emissions for a handful of proposed new coal-burning power plants.
The review will delay the implementation of the regulation for the new plants for at least three months while experts determine whether the emissions limits may safely be relaxed.
- VIDEO: EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson talks mercury pollution standards (Colbert Report, Comedy Central)
- White House Weakened EPA Soot Proposal: (Washington Post):
The White House recently modified an Environmental Protection Agency proposal to limit soot emissions, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post, inviting public comment on a slightly weaker standard than the agency had originally sought.
- Appeals Court Upholds EPA Air Quality Rule: (Reuters):
A federal appeals court upheld a new Environmental Protection Agency rule to limit nitrogen dioxide emissions near major roadways, in a defeat for the oil industry, which said the rule went beyond what was necessary to protect public health.
- Deadly Floods in China, Drought in Europe: UN Warns of Rising Food Prices:
- US corn belt crisis threatens to drive up global inflation:
A fresh surge in food prices could tie the hands of economic policymakers around the world (Guardian UK)
- Sharp Increase in Grain Prices Raises Alarm (Voice of America)
- World farm prices to keep rising in next 10 years, warn FAO, OECD (India Times)
- Europe Heat Wave Wilting Corn Adds to U.S. Drought: Commodities (Bloomberg News)
- Q&A: World food and fuel prices (BBC)
- Aid groups warn of Yemen 'catastrophe' (BBC)
- Bangladesh and Assam devastated by floods (WSWS.org)
- UN: U.S. crop worry to fuel world food prices in July (Reuters):
Searing heat in the U.S. Midwest is expected to see global food prices snap three months of declines in July, the UN said on Thursday, as some international grain prices surged to highs last seen during the 2007-08 food crisis.
- NOAA Scientist: 80 Percent Chance Recent Heat Records Due To Climate Change (Washington Post)
- Graph: 2012 Drought Rivals Dust Bowl (Weather Channel)
- Drought leads to declaration of natural disaster in 26 US states (Guardian UK)
- June 2012 global temps the 4th-warmest ever (Summit County Citizens Voice):
June was the 2nd consecutive month with record global land surface temperatures. The last time June temperatures were below average was in 1976.
In the Northern Hemisphere, it was the third month in a row with record-setting heat over land, with most areas seeing temperatures running well above average. Only northern and western Europe, and the northwestern United States were cooler than average.
- ANALYSIS: What we know about climate change and drought (Washington Post)
- Germany's Merkel Warns Time Is Running Out to Reduce Emissions:
- New impetus needed in climate talks, says Merkel (Deustche-Velle News):
In her speech, Merkel placed special emphasis on the so-called green economy. "We must manage to decouple economic growth from increased resource use," she said, adding that the focus should be on qualitative growth, not quantitative growth.
- Angela Merkel: With Climate Change, 'Time Is Of The Essence' (Huffington Post Green)
- Florida Keys residents resist release of dengue fever-immune mosquitoes (Guardian UK):
UK company wants to unleash genetically modified insects in the Keys, but residents fear not enough is known about the insects.
The mutation works by effectively sterelising the mosquitoes and preventing them from having offspring. That also means, Oxitec insists, that there is no danger of the mutation that has been introduced to the males from being passed down the generations.
- VIDEO: Florida frontline for new GM mosquito tests? (UK Ch. 4):
- Are mutant mosquitoes the answer in Key West? (Reuters):
"If we upset the balance so there are more males that are sterile than their fertile equivalent, then the female has more chance of mating with one of ours," [Hadyn Parry, chief executive officer of the British biotechnology company Oxitec Ltd] told Reuters. "We call it birth control for insects."
- Fear the fever, not the Frankenbug (LA Times Op-Ed)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Bill McKibben: Global Warming's Terrifying New Math (Rolling Stone):
The numbers aren't exact, of course, but that carbon bubble makes the housing bubble look small by comparison. It won't necessarily burst – we might well burn all that carbon, in which case investors will do fine. But if we do, the planet will crater. You can have a healthy fossil-fuel balance sheet, or a relatively healthy planet – but now that we know the numbers, it looks like you can't have both. Do the math: 2,795 is five times 565. That's how the story ends.
The five biggest oil companies have made more than $1 trillion in profits since the millennium...Much of that profit stems from a single historical accident: Alone among businesses, the fossil-fuel industry is allowed to dump its main waste, carbon dioxide, for free. Nobody else gets that break – if you own a restaurant, you have to pay someone to cart away your trash...
The fight, in the end, is about whether the industry will succeed in its fight to keep its special pollution break alive past the point of climate catastrophe, or whether, in the economists' parlance, we'll make them internalize those externalities.
- Tar Sands: Gateway pipeline risks exceed rewards, B.C. Premier says (Globe & Mail) [emphasis added]:
British Columbia Premier Christy Clark is warning that the environmental risks associated with a plan to sell Canadian oil to Asia through the Northern Gateway pipeline outweigh the economic benefits, leaving her at odds with the federal and Alberta governments.
Opposition to Northern Gateway, particularly among first nations and environmental groups, has hardened following a series of oil spills in Alberta and elsewhere in North America.
- Why do ‘experts’ always lowball clean-energy projections? (Grist):
Suffice to say, the projections did not fare well. They were badly wrong, and all in the same direction --- they underestimated the growth of renewable energy.
- Piecing the Puzzle Together on Dolphin Deaths (NYT Green):
Unusually cold water in the Gulf of Mexico combined with damage to the food web from the BP oil spill probably caused the premature deaths of hundreds of dolphins in the region, a new report concludes.
- Penn State scientist threatens legal action over Sandusky comparison (Politico):
Penn State University global warming researcher Michael Mann is lawyering up to counter attacks by conservatives who have referred to him as the “Jerry Sandusky of climate science.”
- Must-See Videos: ABC Interviews Climatologist Michael Mann (Climate Progress)
- Claim Fukushima worker's radiation levels faked probed (AFP):
Japan's labour minister on Tuesday ordered an investigation into claims that subcontractors at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant told workers to lie about their radiation exposure.
- For Coast Guard Patrol North of Alaska, Much to Learn in a Remote New Place (NY Times):
“More traffic up there means more people,” said Cmdr. Kevin Riddle, the captain of the Coast Guard cutter Alex Haley, which was preparing to deploy north this month from its base in Kodiak, Alaska. With cruise ships full of hundreds of passengers potentially needing rescue, tanker ships going adrift in coastal areas or getting stuck in sea ice, and the energy boom itself, Commander Riddle said, once largely empty waters are getting more crowded.
- Shell Parody Site: ArcticReady.com (ArcticReady.com):
That's why we at Shell are committed to not only recognize the challenges that climate change brings, but to take advantage of its tremendous opportunities. And what's the biggest opportunity we've got today? The melting Arctic.
- Fake Shell advertisements spreading on the web (Fuel Fix) [emphasis added]:
Greenpeace mounted a satirical billboard on the highway near Shell's Houston headquarters this morning. The billboard shows polar bears and proclaims: "You can't run your SUV on cute. Let's Go."
The spoof is one of a handful of fake "Let's Go! Arctic" advertisements on the ArcticReady.com protest website that drilling foes launched earlier this year. The website, which is modeled to look like an authentic Shell site and created by Greenpeace and the Yes Lab, includes an iceberg-zapping game and more spoof ads.
- 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."