IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: 2012 set to be one of the hottest years on record; Sea levels rising faster than predicted; Plankton is in trouble; Does air pollution raise the risk of autism?; PLUS: EPA knocks BP out of federal contracting ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Superstorm Sandy to cost $79 Billion; Rising seas to swallow NYC without action; L.A. inks solar deal with Moapa Tribe; 'Buyer beware' on San Diego's desalination plant; How to destroy the planet from the comfort of home; DOE's 'Road to Fuel Effienciency'; Ex-coal executive charged in mine disaster; Jordan fights water shortages ... PLUS: Meet The Climate Denial Machine ... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- EPA Blocks BP From Federal Contracts:
- BP suspended from new US federal contracts over Deepwater disaster (Guardian UK):
The temporary order bans BP from competing for new oil leases in the Gulf of Mexico – such as the auction of 20m acres taking place on Wednesday – or from bidding on new contracts to supply the Pentagon or other government agencies with fuel. While the ban does not affect existing business, it raises wider questions about the company's future in a crucial market.
- BP Is Barred From Taking Government Contracts (NY Times):
The Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday that BP’s suspension from new contracts would remain in effect “until the company can provide sufficient evidence to E.P.A. demonstrating that it meets federal business standards.”
The E.P.A.’s decision appeared to take BP by surprise.
- Will UN Ambassador Susan Rice Benefit from Keystone XL Pipeline?:
- Sec.of State Candidate Has a Major Financial Stake in Canadian Tar Sands (On Earth Magazine):
Rice’s financial holdings could raise questions about her status as a neutral decision maker. The current U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Rice owns stock valued between $300,000 and $600,000 in TransCanada, the company seeking a federal permit to transport tar sands crude 1,700 miles to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast, crossing fragile Midwest ecosystems and the largest freshwater aquifer in North America.
- Susan Rice, Top Candidate For Secretary Of State, Has Millions Tied To Canadian Tar Sands (Climate Progress):
Last October, it was revealed that the State Department contractor performing the environmental assessment of Keystone XL was deeply connected to the pipeline’s developer, TransCanada. Also in October of 2011, emails obtained from the State Department showed that officials in the agency were coaching TransCanada about how to navigate the regulatory process, raising questions about the coziness of the relationship between the two parties.
- Autism Linked to Auto Pollution:
- Study: Autism Linked to Air Pollution From Traffic: USC study suggests air pollution may contribute to autism (USA Today):
Using data from Califonia's Childhood Autism Risks from Genetics and the Environment, University of Southern California researcher Heather Volk found that pregnant women who were exposed to high levels of traffic-related air pollution were nearly three times as likely to have a child with autism as people who were in the lowest quartile of exposure.
Scientists are split about what causes autism, but most agree that there is both a genetic and environmental component to the disease. Volk says her study suggests, but does not confirm, that air pollution may play a role in whether a child develops autism.
- Shortcomings of study linking autism to air pollution highlight need for better research (Boston Globe):
While all of these caveats don’t necessarily invalidate the findings, they do point to a larger issue: the need for better designed, better funded studies to determine with more finality what’s leading to the precipitous rise in autism in American children.
- STUDY: 2012 On Track to Be 9th Hottest on Record:
- 2012 expected to be 9th warmest year on record (Guardian UK):
World Meteorological Organisation data shows average global temperature to date is 14.45C, higher than long-term average
Although climate change sceptics may seize on the data, it does not change the long-term warming trend. Nine of the 10 hottest years on record have occurred since 2001, according to the Met Office. As well as the La Niña variation, there may have been other weather effects at work.
- Extreme weather calls for action, UN climate chief says (Reuters)
- U.N. Agency Says 2012 Ranks Among Hottest Years (NY Times)
- STUDY: Sea Levels Rising 60% Faster Than Predictions; Global Temps On Track:
- US coastal cities in danger as sea levels rise faster than expected, study warns: Satellite measurements show flooding from storms like Sandy will put low-lying population centres at risk sooner than projected (Guardian UK)
- STUDY: Projected sea-level rise may be underestimated (Potsdam Institute):
That sea level is rising faster than expected could mean that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) sea-level rise projections for the future may be biased low as well, their results suggest.
- READ THE STUDY: Comparing climate projections to observations up to 2011 (IOP Science)
- Study: Sea Levels Rising 60% Faster Than Projected, Planet Keeps Warming As Expected (Climate Progress) [emphasis added]:
The rate of sea-level rise in the past decades is greater than projected by the latest assessments of the IPCC, while global temperature increases in good agreement with its best estimates.
“The new findings highlight that the IPCC is far from being alarmist and in fact in some cases rather underestimates possible risks.”
- STUDY: Ocean Acidification Already Damaging Plankton Shells:
- Ocean Acidification: Animals are already dissolving in Southern Ocean (New Scientist):
"This is actually happening now," says Geraint Tarling of the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, UK. He and colleagues captured free-swimming sea snails called pteropods from the Southern Ocean in early 2008 and found under an electron microscope that the outer layers of their hard shells bore signs of unusual corrosion.
As well as warming the planet, the carbon dioxide we emit is changing the chemistry of the ocean.
- Washington state confronts ocean acidificationWashington state confronts ocean acidification (Washington Post)
- UN COP18: Next Phase of Climate Negotiations in Doha, Qatar:
- China, EU Comments Show Reduced Scope of UN Climate Talks (Bloomberg):
China teamed with the European Union and envoys from the bloc of 48 Least Developed Countries to dial back expectations for United Nations climate talks, indicating that there probably aren’t any new promises for aid or cuts in greenhouse gases on the horizon.
- UNFCC Main Page: Video and Text (United Nations)
- VIDEO: UN COP18 Webcast MainPage: (United Nations)
- UN News Centre (United Nations)
- U.N. Global Warming Summit: Heading Over the Climate Cliff (Time's Eco-Centric Blog):
What’s the climate connection? The fiscal crisis and global warming are both, to put it bluntly, problems for tomorrow. Even if Congress can’t come to an agreement to avert the fiscal cliff, the economy won’t collapse immediately and the U.S. will still be able to borrow money, just as climate change won’t render the world uninhabitable next year the world can’t reduce carbon emissions overnight anyway. As a society—and as a species—we tend not to be very good at addressing problems of tomorrow, but in one very important respect, the climate cliff and the fiscal cliff are very different.
- Time's Up: UN Study Says World Emissions Targets Not Enough:
- Youth have their say at COP18: Activists highlight what they call lack of representation for 1.5bn youth (UN FCC)
- Arctic sea ice larger than US melts, UN reports; climate change happening ‘before our eyes’ (Washington Post)
- Global warming targets further out of reach, UN says (Phys.org):
Based on current pledges, global average temperatures could rise by three to five degrees Celsius (5.4 to 9.0 degrees Fahrenheit) this century—way above the two degrees Celsius being targeted, said a UN Environment Programme (UNEP) report.
- Climate Change Report Warns of Dramatically Warmer World This Century (The World Bank)
- IEA World Energy Outlook 2012 (Int'l Energy Agency)
- Thawing of permafrost to be ‘major factor’ in global warming, warns UN report (UN News Centre)
- New Scientist: 7 Reasons Climate Change Is ‘Even Worse Than We Thought’ (Climate Progress):
Nearly 3 years ago, the late William R. Freudenburg discussed in a AAAS presentation how new scientific findings since the 2007 IPCC report are found to be more than twenty times as likely to indicate that global climate disruption is “worse than previously expected,” rather than “not as bad as previously expected.”
- 100 mln will die by 2030 if world fails to act on climate - report (Reuters)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- New York, New Jersey expect Sandy to cost U.S. $79 billion (Chicago Tribune):
Superstorm Sandy's tab swelled Wednesday as New York and New Jersey estimated they would need $79 billion in federal aid to cover damages, recovery and mitigation measures to cope with a future storm.
- NY Times Warns On Climate Change: ‘Fear Death By Water’, Rising Seas Likely To Swallow Up City If We Don’t Act Soon (Climate Progress):
The NY Times (finally) goes apocalyptic on climate change.
- Los Angeles Signs Deal for Moapa Reservation Solar Plant: (Las Vegas Review-Journal) [emphasis added]:
Council members for the city of Los Angeles approved a $1.6 billion, 25-year pact Tuesday to purchase solar power from a company that will build nearly 1 million photovoltaic panels on tribal land.
"We are going to have a solar farm and jobs for our people," Anderson, 39, said about the 320 members of the Moapa band.
- Desalination: Let the Buyer Beware (Huffington Post Green) [emphasis added]:
In a new report issued today, the Pacific Institute released the results of a year-long analysis of the complex and controversial costs of seawater desalination. The conclusion? It is still really expensive, especially compared to alternatives.
- VIDEO: TEDx Matt Grocoff - Shelter: How to Destroy the Planet from the Comfort of Home (Home Energy Pros):
What it takes to get to a Net Zero Energy home.
- INFOGRAPHIC: The Road To Fuel Efficiency: (Dept. of Energy)
- Ex-Official Is Charged After Deaths at Coal Mine (NY Times):
Federal prosecutors in West Virginia charged the highest-ranking executive to date on Wednesday in a broad investigation stemming from the 2010 explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine that killed 29 miners, a move that suggests more senior executives at Massey Energy, the mine’s operator, are likely to be prosecuted.
- A Parched Jordan Places Hopes in Reservoir (NY Times):
Jordan is the world’s fourth-poorest country in terms of water resources per capita, according to the World Bank. ... Against that background, Jordan is betting heavily on a major pipeline, the Disi Water Conveyance Project, which is expected to start carrying water next year to the capital, Amman, from deep underground sources in southern Jordan, which the country shares with Saudi Arabia.
- Pace of Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon Falls (Wall St. Journal):
Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon rainforest slowed dramatically last year as the government stepped up efforts to detect and halt illegal farming and logging, though some environmental groups warn that recent changes to the law protecting the forest might slow further progress.
- Solidarity for Tar Sands Blockade and Climate Justice Spreads Worldwide (TruthOut.org)
- Meet The Climate Denial Machine (MediaMatters.org):
Despite the overwhelming consensus among climate experts that human activity is contributing to rising global temperatures, 66 percent of Americans incorrectly believe there is "a lot of disagreement among scientists about whether or not global warming is happening." The conservative media has fueled this confusion...Media Matters looks at how conservative media outlets give industry-funded "experts" a platform, creating a polarized misunderstanding of climate science.
- COVER STORY: It's Global Warming, Stupid (Businessweek):
Yes, yes, it's unsophisticated to blame any given storm on climate change. Men and women in white lab coats tell us-and they're right-that many factors contribute to each severe weather episode. Climate deniers exploit scientific complexity to avoid any discussion at all.
If all that doesn't impress, forget the scientists ostensibly devoted to advancing knowledge and saving lives. Listen instead to corporate insurers committed to compiling statistics for profit.
- 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."