IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Japan to phase out nuclear power --- sort of; US nuke whistleblower warns of new risks; Shell gives up on Arctic drilling --- for now; PLUS: It's official: August 2012 was hot --- really hot ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Fox Stumbles Over The Truth On Gas Prices; Ruptured pipe at Chevron refinery fire 'thin as a penny'; Crop insurance losses begin to mount amid drought; National Guard aids Halliburton in search for missing radioactive rod; Alaskans to get $878 in yearly oil wealth payout (socialism!); Wind industry cuts jobs while Congress dawdles; Africa elephant slaughter funds conflicts; Freaked-out climate scientists urge other freaked-out climate scientists to speak up ... PLUS: Victory: Judge rules scientist Michael Mann's emails off-limits ... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- VIDEO: Climate Denier Rick Santorum: “We Will Never Have Smart People on Our Side” (Climate Crock of the Week)
- It's Official - August 2012 Third Hottest August On Record:
- Global swelter: World has 3rd-warmest summer on record (USA Today):
While the USA sweated through one of its warmest summers on record, so, too, did the rest of the globe, federal scientists from the National Climatic Data Center announced Monday.
- Record Arctic Ice Melt Leading to More Extreme Storms:
- Arctic expert predicts final collapse of sea ice within four years (Guradian UK):
In what he calls a "global disaster" now unfolding in northern latitudes as the sea area that freezes and melts each year shrinks to its lowest extent ever recorded, Prof Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University calls for "urgent" consideration of new ideas to reduce global temperatures.
In an email to the Guardian he says: "Climate change is no longer something we can aim to do something about in a few decades' time, and that we must not only urgently reduce CO2 emissions but must urgently examine other ways of slowing global warming, such as the various geoengineering ideas that have been put forward."
- VIDEO: Powerful Video of 2012 Record Arctic Sea Ice Melt (Climate Central):
- VIDEO: Arctic ice melt 'like adding 20 years of CO2 emissions' (BBC):
White ice reflects more sunlight than open water, acting like a parasol. Melting of white Arctic ice, currently at its lowest level in recent history, is causing more absorption. Prof Wadhams calculates this absorption of the sun's rays is having an effect "the equivalent of about 20 years of additional CO2 being added by man".
- Shell Abandons Arctic Drilling --- For Now:
- Damaged container dome makes Shell limit Chukchi Sea drilling (Oil & Gas Journal):
Officials from environmental organizations immediately said the containment dome’s damage revealed design defects... Niel Lawrence, a senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said, “Shell is proving it is the gang that can’t drill straight. Its spill response barge had hundreds of problems; its drill ship broke anchor and nearly drifted aground while still in harbor; and a day after Shell said it was safe to drill, it had to pull out and run from a 30-mile-wide iceberg.”
- Shell Postpones Arctic Offshore Drilling For The Year Due To Technical Problems And Rough Ice Conditions (Climate Progress):
As detailed in the Center for American Progress report, Putting a Freeze on Arctic Ocean Drilling: America’s Inability to Respond to an Oil Spill in the Arctic, the dearth of supporting infrastructure throughout Alaska’s North Slope — including ports, roads, railroads, and permanent Coast Guard facilities — coupled with the lack of sound science and extremely volatile conditions make offshore operations extremely difficult and hazardous. The remote location, harsh and unpredictable conditions, and absence of proven clean-up technologies designed for Arctic conditions would make large-scale response efforts nearly impossible.
- Ice Floes Freeze Arctic Drilling (Oceana):
While oil spills occur nearly every day in the Gulf of Mexico, high winds, waves, fog and unpredictable ice floes promise to make drilling in the Arctic even more fraught with hazard.
- Damaged container dome makes Shell limit Chukchi Sea drilling (Oil & Gas Journal):
- Japan to Phase Out Nuclear Power (Maybe):
- Japan to Zero Out Nuclear Power by 2030s (Environment News Service):
There will be a 40-year limit on the lifespan of nuclear power plants, no new plant construction and no expansion of existing nuclear power facilities.
- VIDEO: Japan to Phase Out Nuclear Power (CBS News)
- VIDEO: Japan decides to phase out nuclear power (NHK News)
- Cabinet panel wants Japan to end nuclear power use (AP):
A Cabinet panel on Friday called for Japan to phase out nuclear power over the next three decades in what would be a major shift of national energy policy prompted by the Fukushima meltdowns.
Reversing Japan's decades-long advocacy of nuclear power is popular with the public, though it faces opposition from powerful business interests. The new policy calls for greater reliance on renewable energy, more conservation and sustainable use of fossil fuels and would see Japan joining Germany in turning its back on nuclear energy.
- Addressing a Gap in Nuclear Regulation (NYT Green):
The question of a gap in regulations was first raised early this year by Gregory B. Jaczko, the commission’s previous chairman, who advanced the idea that the commission’s goals were so flawed that what transpired at Fukushima could have been judged to meet the agency’s safety standards.
- Japanese opposition to nuclear power builds as Government restarts reactors (NZ Herald):
Protests in front of Noda's official residence have now become a weekly Friday event in Tokyo and sometimes draw crowds of up to 20,000 people.
- US Nuclear Whistleblower Warns of New Risk:
- Flood Threat To Nuclear Plants Covered Up By Regulators, NRC Whistleblower Claims (Huffington Post Green):
In a letter [pdf] submitted Friday afternoon to internal investigators at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, a whistleblower engineer within the agency accused regulators of deliberately covering up information relating to the vulnerability of U.S. nuclear power facilities that sit downstream from large dams and reservoirs.
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- U.Va. wins key ruling in Prince William global warming-FOIA case involving Michael Mann (Washington Post):
The battle over global warming in Prince William County Circuit Court, focused on renowned climate scientist Michael E. Mann, was either an assault on science or a search for the truth, depending on whose briefs you were reading. But after reading all the briefs, a judge ruled Monday that Mann’s e-mail correspondence was exempt from the Virginia Freedom of Information Act and did not have to be provided to the American Tradition Institute, which was trying to delve into the discussions and data behind Mann’s conclusions that humans are causing the Earth to grow hotter.
- VIDEO: Fox Stumbles Over The Truth On Gas Prices (Media Matters):
Fox's Stuart Varney complained today that "the establishment media blames the Middle East" for rising gas prices, rather than "President Obama's energy policy." But an hour later, Fox News became part of the "establishment media," correctly noting that gas prices are up due to tension in the Middle East, not Obama's policies.
- Chevron Refinery Fire: Investigators say pipe walls in refinery fire thin as penny (Fuel Fix):
A corroded pipe that failed and triggered a leak and massive fire at one of California’s largest refineries had walls as thin as a penny in some areas, federal investigators said. U.S. Chemical Safety Board officials said late Tuesday that a key part of their probe into the fire at the plant in Richmond, Calif., is why Chevron Corp. didn’t replace the pipe during a routine inspection a year ago.
- Crop insurance losses begin to mount amid drought (AP):
Thousands of farmers are filing insurance claims this year after drought and triple-digit temperatures burned up crops across the nation's Corn Belt, and some experts are predicting record insurance losses — exacerbated by changes that reduced some growers' premiums.
- National Guard aids Halliburton in search for missing radioactive rod (CS Monitor):
Halliburton Co. has reached out to the National Guard for help in the search for a seven-inch radioactive rod used in the drilling of natural gas wells, according to Oilprice.com. Workers lost the device earlier this week in southwestern Texas.
- Socialism!: Alaskans to get $878 in yearly oil wealth payout (AP):
Alaska has no state income tax, but residents must pay federal taxes on the bounty. Still, it's free money for every eligible man, woman and child. Don't expect anyone to balk at it.
- Wind Layoffs: Siemens to lay off 615 in Iowa, Kansas, Florida (CBS):
Wind energy equipment manufacturer Siemens Energy Inc. will lay off 615 workers in Iowa, Kansas, and Florida in part because Congress has not renewed a tax credit for wind energy, the company said Tuesday.
- Brutal Elephant Slaughter Funds African Conflicts (Der Spiegel):
Rebels and militias across Africa have discovered the illegal trade in elephant ivory. Coveted in Asia, their tusks bring in handsome sums that are funding wars across the continent. Many game wardens hardly stand a chance against the slaughter.
- Freaked-out climate scientists urge other freaked-out climate scientists to speak up, fight Man (Grist) [emphasis added]:
Can we make the radical changes necessary to meet that challenge? No, say climate scientists Kevin Anderson and Alice Bows in a recent commentary in Nature Climate Change, not “within orthodox political and economic constraints.”
In other words: We either give up economic growth voluntarily for a little while or suffer a climate that will reverse economic growth long-term.
- >A first for America: Ocean energy project now delivering clean electricity to U.S. electric utility grid (TG Daily):
For the first time, power from the ocean is making its way onto a U.S. grid.
Ocean Renewable Power Company said Thursday that Bangor Hydro Electric Company had confirmed that electricity was flowing from ORPC's Cobscook Bay Tidal Project in Maine.
- Republican Meteorologist to Mitt Romney: My Top Ten Reasons for Republicans to Accept Reality on the Climate (Huffington Post Green)
- 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."