IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: One day later, Japan reverses planned nuclear phase-out; Romney and Republicans fight for Big Coal - with unpaid labor; New record HOT ocean temps cause lobster glut in Northeast; PLUS: Putting their bodies on the line to stop the dirty Keystone XL pipeline ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): US wind industry withers with end of tax credit; False balance lives: PBS FAIL on climate science; Bolivia protects unique pink dolphins; FDA to investigate arsenic in rice; Insurance companies won't pay for climate disasters; UK slams Trump's misleading anti-wind ad; Mexico pipeline explosion kills 28; GM corn study draws skepticism ... PLUS: Existing technologies could halve fuel efficiency. So why aren't we using them? ... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- It's Official: Record Artic Ice Loss - a 'Planetary Emergency':
- 'Planetary emergency' due to Arctic melt, experts warn (AFP):
Experts warned of a "planetary emergency" due to the unforeseen global consequences of Arctic ice melt, including methane gas released from permafrost regions currently under ice.
"We are in a planetary emergency," said Hansen, decrying "the gap between what is understood by scientific community and what is known by the public."
- Earth's attic is on fire: Arctic sea ice bottoms out at a new record low (Dr. Jeff Master's Weather Underground) [emphasis added]:
"We are now in uncharted territory," said NSIDC Director Mark Serreze. "While we've long known that as the planet warms up, changes would be seen first and be most pronounced in the Arctic, few of us were prepared for how rapidly the changes would actually occur.
- 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".
- Poles Apart: Skeptics Deny Arctic Sea Ice Record: (Tamimo's Open Mind) [emphasis added]:
As most of you are aware, Arctic sea ice has shrunk dramatically over the last several decades, because of man-made global warming. This year it has broken the records for lowest area, lowest extent, and lowest volume. Perhaps more to the point, those records were broken not by a little — not even by a modest amount — the were broken by a helluva lot. Yes, a hell of a lot. The loss of Arctic sea ice has been nothing short of astounding. How have the fake skeptics of global warming responded? By changing the subject, of course.
- Japan Reverses Course on Nuclear Phase-Out:
- 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.
- Romney & Republicans Fight for Big Coal:
- Conservative Media Ignore Role Of Natural Gas In Coal Layoffs (Media Matters):
[A] recent brief by the nonpartisan U.S. Energy Information Administration stated that the relatively low price of natural gas and modest electricity demand growth were among the factors contributing to planned coal unit retirements, along with anticipated environmental compliance costs particularly for "older, smaller units that are not used heavily. Last year the Congressional Research Service stated that some extremely old plants that have still failed to control their emissions of sulfur dioxide, mercury and other hazardous air pollutants are planning to shut down, but that the low price of natural gas would have led these plants to close "almost regardless of EPA rules".
- The GOP’s ‘War On Coal’ Myth, Brought To You By Millions In Coal Cash (Climate Progress):
Coal has backed the GOP’s political campaign with heavy spending on TV ads, lobbying and political contributions. Coal and dirty utilities have spent a total $66 million on lobbying since 2011. House Republicans have received $4.4 million in career contributions from the coal industry — nearly 5 times the amount Democratic members received, according to a ThinkProgress analysis of Center for Responsive Politics data.
- GOP ‘war on coal’ bill gets White House veto threat (The HIll's E2 Wire)
- GOP says coal mine closures underscore Obama 'war on coal' (The Hill's E2 Wire)
- Panel sets floor votes on climate science, EPA mine veto power (The Hill's E2 Wire)
- VIDEO: Ad Watch: Romney targets coal vote (Washington Post)
- Video: In Creepy Coal World, Billionaires Use The Great Barrier Reef As Their Own Private Ride (Climate Progress):
Heck, Australia is so bold, it’s looking to build export terminals that would go straight over the Great Barrier Reef — a natural gem already under threat from climate change and increasing industrial activity.
- OH Coal Miners Forced To Lose Day's Pay to Attend 'Mandatory' Romney Rally:
- Coal miners lost pay when Mitt Romney visited their mine to promote coal jobs (Cleveland Plain Dealer):
When GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney visited an Ohio coal mine this month to promote jobs in the coal industry, workers who appeared with him at the rally lost pay because their mine was shut down. The Pepper Pike company that owns the Century Mine told workers that attending the Aug. 14 Romney event would be both mandatory and unpaid, a top company official said Monday morning in a West Virginia radio interview.
A group of employees who feared they'd be fired if they didn't attend the campaign rally in Beallsville, Ohio, complained about it to WWVA radio station talk show host David Blomquist. Blomquist discussed their beefs on the air Monday with Murray Energy Chief Financial Officer Rob Moore.
- AUDIO: Murray Energy Miners Allege They Had To Give Up Pay To Attend 'Mandatory' Romney Rally (Huffington Post)
- Coal Exec Dresses Up Like Miner for Congressional Candidate's Campaign (Mother Jones)
- Romney Ad Features Coal Miners Allegedly Required To Attend Campaign Event (Talking Points Memo)
- TX: Protesters Stop Work on Southern Keystone XL Pipeline:
- Protests And Civil Disobedience Against Construction Of The Keystone XL Pipeline Continue (Climate Progress)
- Judge Allows Trans-Canada to Take Crawford Land for Keystone Pipeline (Ft. Worth Weekly)
- VIDEO: Three Blockaders Lock Themselves to Keystone XL Machinery (Tar Sands Action.org)
- Keystone XL pipeline construction begins amid protests (LA Times)
- Hottest Ocean Temps Ever in Northeast:
- Northeast ocean temperatures reach record high (AP):
The rising temperatures impact virtually all ocean life, said Kevin Friedland, a scientist who works in Narragansett, R.I., for NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center.... ‘‘There’s going to be climate winner and losers,’’ Friedland said. ‘‘If it’s too warm for a species, it opens up a niche for other species that are tolerant of warmer waters.’’
- Hottest Ever Water Temperatures Off East Coast All the Way Down to the Bottom of the Ocean (Mother Jones) [emphasis added]:
Above-average temperatures were found everywhere: from the sea surface to the ocean bottom and out beyond the Gulf Stream.
The area is known as the Northeast Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem. Parts of it were declared a fisheries disaster last week (I posted about that here: Fisheries Declared Disasters on Four Coasts). This was due to the fact that stocks of cod, yellowtail flounder, and other groundfish are not rebuilding even though most fishers have adhered to tough quotas.
The problem lies in the warming waters. The super warm SSTs of 2012 jumpstarted an early and intense spring plankton bloomwhich began in some places as early as Februaryand lasted longer than average. This ricocheted through the marine foodweb from the smallest creatures to the largest marine mammals like whales.
- Sea Surface Temperatures Reach Record Highs On Northeast Continental Shelf (Science Daily):
The annual 2012 spring plankton bloom was intense, started earlier and lasted longer than average. This has implications for marine life from the smallest creatures to the largest marine mammals like whales. Atlantic cod continued to shift northeastward from its historic distribution center.
- Warm Ocean Temps Cause Lobster Oversupply:
- In Maine, More Lobsters Than They Know What to Do With (NY Times):
A combination of warm weather and good conservation techniques has led to what could end up being a record lobster harvest across Maine waters....But the bounty has come with a downside for fishermen. A relatively warm winter prompted soft-shell lobsters to appear in June, about a month early, and their abundance turned into an overabundance.
- Prices inch up as lobster catch starts dropping off (Maine Sun-Journal)
- B52's Celebrate Lobster Glut:
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Tax Credit in Doubt, Wind Power Industry Is Withering (NY Times)
- False Balance Lives: In Worst Climate Story Of The Year, PBS Channels Fox News (Climate Progress):
PBS decided that the way to “balance” a former skeptic who merely confirmed what climate scientists have demonstrated repeatedly for decades was by quoting nonsense from Sen. James Inhofe and then giving an extended interview to former TV weatherman and current A-list disinformer Anthony Watts.
- Bolivia moves to protect Amazon pink dolphins: Bolivian President Evo Morales has enacted a law aimed at protecting a unique species of dolphins that live in the country's Amazon rivers. (BBC)
- Study on Monsanto Genetically Modified Corn Draws Skepticism (Huffington Post Green):
In a study that prompted sharp criticism from other experts, French scientists said on Wednesday that rats fed on Monsanto's genetically modified corn or exposed to its top-selling weedkiller suffered tumours and multiple organ damage.
- Large fish kill reported in Lake Auburn (AP):
The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is investigating a large fish kill in Lake Auburn caused by a lack of oxygen.
- FDA to Look Into Levels of Arsenic in Rice (Fox News Latino)
- Climate change means taxpayers could pay for more disaster cleanups (The Hill's E2 Wire):
A trend of insurance companies backing away from extreme-weather-threatened regions might leave taxpayers on the hook for more natural disaster cleanup efforts, according to a report released Thursday.
- Safety Rules for Fracking Disposal Wells Often Ignored (Scientific American):
Our examination shows that, amid growing use of Class 2 wells, fundamental safeguards are sometimes being ignored or circumvented. State and federal regulators often do little to confirm what pollutants go into wells for drilling waste. They rely heavily on an honor system in which companies are supposed to report what they are pumping into the earth, whether their wells are structurally sound, and whether they have violated any rules.
- 29 dead, 46 injured in Mexico pipeline fire (AP):
"The timely response by oil workers, firefighters and the Mexican army was able to control the fire relatively quickly and avoid a real catastrophe of bigger proportions and greater damages if the fire had spread to the center for gas processing, which is right there," Calderon said in a speech in Mexico City.
- Donald Trump anti-wind power fundraiser fails to get off the ground (Guradian UK):
Anti-wind power fundraiser featuring Donald Trump hit by poor ticket sales, forcing organiser Chris Heaton-Harris MP to cancel
- Existing Technologies Could Cut Vehicle Fuel Use in Half (ClimateWire):
New cars and trucks could improve fuel efficiency by 50 percent if existing technologies such as hybrids are adopted.
- 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.
- Republican Meteorologist to Mitt Romney: My Top Ten Reasons for Republicans to Accept Reality on the Climate (Huffington Post Green)
- 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."