With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 8/21/2012, 3:17pm PT  

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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: It's official: Worst. Fire Season. Ever.; Rep. Todd Akin is not the only anti-science Republican in the US House; More industrial farming animal abuse; China ventures into the unfrozen Arctic; PLUS: Brain-eating amoebas thriving in Oklahoma ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Record radiation found in Fukushima fish; US court strikes down new EPA pollution rules; Chevron refinery fire was 'a close call'; India blackout and the costs of air conditioning; Agriculture is a major water pollution culprit; Shell inks $1b deal to frack in China ... PLUS: Keystone XL construction begins: 'When This Oil Spills, It's 'A Whole New Monster' ... 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)...

  • Record radiation in fish off Japan nuclear plant (AFP) [emphasis added]:
    A pair of greenlings have shown the highest level of radioactive caesium detected in fish and shellfish caught in waters off Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant, its operator said Tuesday. The fishes, captured 20 kilometres (12.5 miles) off the plant on August 1, registered 25,800 becquerels of caesium per kilo, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) said --- 258 times the level the government deems safe for consumption.
  • Edison to lay off 730 workers at San Onofre:
    Utility says the plan to cut its workforce was begun before the current problems that have kept the nuclear plant offline. (LA Times)
  • Chevron Refinery Fire a "Close Call" (SF Chronicle):
    The chairman of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board toured the scene of the Chevron refinery fire Monday and released photos of the gigantic vapor cloud that loomed over Richmond before it caught fire. Calling the accident a 'close call' that could have had an 'extraordinarily bigger impact on the community,' Rafael Moure-Eraso said he hopes the agency's investigation will offer lessons to the troubled industry.
  • India Blackout: "The Cost of Cool": (NY Times):
    The blackouts that left hundreds of millions of Indians sweltering in the dark last month underscored the status of air-conditioning as one of the world's most vexing environmental quandaries.
  • Agriculture Is Nation's Biggest Water Polluter But Usually Goes Unpunished (InvestigateWest):
    When the state issued him a formal order in 2009 to keep the cows away from the creek, Lemire appealed to a state pollution-hearings board.

    This fall his case heads to the Washington Supreme Court in what is shaping up as a pivotal decision about farmers’ obligations to protect Northwest waterways. In a related struggle, Indian tribes are charging that farmers such as Lemire are killing salmon.

  • Horses Fall Victim to Hard & Dry Times on the Range: (NY Times):
    The land is parched, the fields are withering and thousands of the nation's horses are being left to fend for themselves on the dried range, abandoned by people who can no longer afford to feed them. They have been dropping dead in the Navajo reservation in the Southwest, where neighbors are battling neighbors and livestock for water, an inherently scant resource on tribal land. They have been found stumbling through state parks in Missouri, in backyards and along country roads in Illinois, and among ranch herds in Texas where they do not belong.
  • How A Biofuel Dream Called Jatropha Came Crashing Down (NPR):
    ... wouldn't it be lovely if somebody came up with a biofuel that didn't take food out of people's mouths? A few years ago, some people thought they'd found it: A miracle tree called Jatropha.
  • U.S. Appeals Court Strikes Down Public Health Safeguards That Would Have Saved 34,000 Premature Deaths Each Year (Climate Progress):
    [T]he U.S. Court of Appeals struck down the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), blocking limits to harmful air pollution. The measure would have limited sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide pollution, the main ingredients of acid rain and smog.

    Each year, these regulations would prevent up to 34,000 premature deaths and hundreds of thousands of cases of aggravated asthma (see Table 1). It was estimated to provide up to $280 billion in annual economic benefits through health and environmental improvements alone.

  • Corps: Low Mississippi Causes Harbor Closures (ABC News):
    Officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers say low water levels that are restricting shipping traffic, forcing harbor closures and causing towboats and barges to run aground on the Mississippi River are expected to continue into October.
  • Shell plans at least $1 billion a year in China shale gas investment (Reuters):
    Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) plans to spend at least $1 billion a year exploiting China's potentially vast resources of shale gas, the firm's top China executive said, part of an aggressive strategy to expand in the world's biggest energy market.
  • Keystone XL construction begins: When This Oil Spills, It's 'A Whole New Monster' (NPR)
  • AP IMPACT: CO2 emissions in US drop to 20-year low (Business Week):
    In a surprising turnaround, the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere in the U.S. has fallen dramatically to its lowest level in 20 years, and government officials say the biggest reason is that cheap and plentiful natural gas has led many power plant operators to switch from dirtier-burning coal.
  • After Documents Show Paul Ryan Secured $20 Million In Stimulus Grants, He Claims ‘I Never Asked For Stimulus’ (Climate Progress) [emphasis added]:
    On Tuesday, the Boston Globe and Associated Press reported on documents showing that GOP Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan had secured more than $20 million in stimulus funds for a local energy efficiency organization... His requests came at the same time he was publicly calling the stimulus a “wasteful spending spree.” However, in an interview with a local Ohio television news station, Ryan claimed he never secured funding through the program, saying “I never asked for stimulus.”
  • Toilet of the future? Runs on sun. Wins prize. (CS Monitor):
    Toilet of the future wins $100,000 from Gates Foundation for solar-powered unit that recycles water and turns waste into energy. Foundation will spend $3.4 million on its 'toilet of the future' initiative.
  • Dr. Michael Mann: Fresh Falsehoods from Rich Muller: (Dr. Michael Mann, Penn State Univ.):
    THE REALITY: [Muller's] claim is flatly wrong and betrays a disturbing lack of awareness of the published literature (not just the technical literature, but high profile paper in e.g. Nature) for a self-styled 'climate expert'.
  • IEA Bombshell: Global Warming May Lead To 'Miami Beach In Boston' Situation Unless Urgent Action Is Taken (Climate Progress):
    Ambassador Richard H. Jones warned that if energy policies do not adapt, enough carbon dioxide will be being emitted to reach 1,000 parts per million in the atmosphere. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that equates to 6º Celsius increase in temperature by the end of this century. "That's basically Miami Beach in Boston," he said.
  • Bill McKibben: Global Warming's Terrifying New Math (Rolling Stone):
    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.
  • Must-See Videos: ABC Interviews Climatologist Michael Mann (Climate Progress)
  • Essential Climate Science Findings: