IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Obama nominates REI CEO for DOI; Historic Nor'easter to hit Nor'east, historic low water levels in Great Lakes; Ben & Jerry's junks GMOs; Saving Indonesia's rainforest; PLUS: Find the nation's biggest polluters - in your backyard... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): "These big pools of oil will be burned if we choose to cook ourselves"; Air pollution linked to higher infant mortality; Flame retardants linked to ADHD: study; OH: Frackers illegally dump toxic fracking fluid into storm drain; Big Oil profiting from record high gas prices; BP objects to $34b spill bill from states; Faulty bolts halt offshore drilling; USDA reports climate change to slam farms, forests ... PLUS: AZ's anti-Agenda 21 bill wants to eat your brains ... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Wacky Winter Whiplash: "Historic" Nor'easter This Weekend, Historic Drought for Great Lakes, CO River:
- Historic Nor'easter poised to slam Boston and the Northeast U.S. (Dr. Jeff Master's Weather Underground)
- Winter Storm Nemo: Potential Historic Blizzard Looms (The Weather Channel)
- Cuomo Seeking Home Buyouts in Flood Zones (NYT Green)
- 2 Great Lakes hit lowest water level on record (USA Today):
Two of the Great Lakes have hit their lowest water levels ever recorded, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Tuesday, capping more than a decade of below-normal rain and snowfall and higher temperatures that boost evaporation.
— Peter Gleick (@PeterGleick) February 6, 2013
- Study: Energy Industry Water Use Set To Double By 2035 (Climate Progress)
- Asian paper giant agrees to stop cutting Indonesia’s natural rain forests (Washington Post):
Asia Pulp & Paper, the third-largest pulp and paper company in the world, announced Tuesday that it is halting operations in Indonesia’s natural rain forests, a victory for advocates who have been negotiating with the company for a year.
- Ben & Jerry's to Junk GMOs Due to USDA Data:
- Research results pointed Ben & Jerry's down non-GMO path (Food Navigator) [emphasis added]:
Initially you might see herbicide use come down with GE seeds, but then it goes back up and it goes up in an extreme way," said [Rob Michalak, global director of social mission for Ben & Jerry's]. ..."So over time we actually are using more herbicide using GM seeds and the GM seeds are more expensive. So we are not seeing the promise that the GM seeds were supposed to deliver," Michalak said.
- The Curious Timing of Ben & Jerry’s No GMO Announcement (Fooducate blog)
- Pre-emptive Strike?: Genetic Changes to Food May Get Uniform Labeling (NY Times)
- Are Walmart and Big Food pushing for GMO labeling? (Grist):
[I]t’s unknown whether anything will come of this “secret” meeting or if an industry-supported GMO label would be a weak, sheep-in-wolf’s-clothing version.
- In Your Backyard: EPA's List of Top Polluters:
- EPA Interactive Map: Explore Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions From Large Facilities (EPA.gov)
- REPORT: EPA Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (EPA.gov)
- Find out which facilities near you are doing the most damage to the climate! (Grist) [emphasis added]:
Two-thirds of those emissions were from power plants, by which we of course mean fossil fuel power plants....But what the EPA’s map doesn’t show well is where the most pollution occurs. So we made a map that does.
- First-Time Reports from Oil and Gas Industry Reveal Massive Methane Emissions: New data shows that emissions of methane—a potent greenhouse gas—are on the rise in the U.S. (ClimateWire)
- Fracking Seen by EPA as No. 2 Emitter of Greenhouse Gases (Bloomberg News)
- Obama Picks REI CEO for Interior Secretary:
- Obama taps Sally Jewell, CEO of REI, for Interior post (Grist) [emphasis added]:
In some ways, Jewell’s background makes her the perfect pick to run the Interior Department. Not only can she empathize with both sides in the struggle between developing and protecting public land, but her career has been an evolution from the former to the latter. Jewell’s career reflects the transition the country itself is making, away from raw exploration at all costs, toward sensible stewardship.
- Obama nominates REI chief executive as interior secretary (Washington Post) [emphasis added]:
President Obama’s unconventional pick to lead the Interior Department — a former oil engineer and commercial banker who heads the consumer co-op Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) — represents an effort by the administration to defuse the partisan fight over conservation and energy.
- Former Interior Secretary Babbitt calls for one acre of conservation for every acre of oil exploration (Grist) [emphasis added]:
Babbitt centered his verbal venom on an oil and gas industry that “will be insulted by the suggestion that the public’s use of public land should be on equal ground with their profits”...
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Analysis: Thinking Carefully About 'Tight Oil' (Counil on Foreign Relations) [emphasis added]:
There is no plausible scenario in which we’ll spend the next thousand years with a totally decarbonized economy – except that we’ll burn everything in Colorado or Alberta or some other discrete carbon pool. The causal arrow runs the other way: these big pools of oil will be burned if we choose to cook ourselves; they will mostly remain in the ground if we don’t.
- Dumping of Toxic Fracking Wastewater Reaffirms Natural Gas Industry Free-for-All in Ohio (EcoWatch)
- Americans now spending most on gas since early 1980s (Washington Post)
- Speed Trap: Big Oil Profits from High Gasoline Prices (Climate Progress)
- Air Pollution Linked To Lower Birth Weights, Higher Risk Of Infant Mortality (Think Progress)
- Flame-retardants may affect a child's attention, IQ. (Environmental Health News) [emphasis added]:
Exposure to flame retardants during pregnancy or early childhood may lead to children with poorer attention, motor skills and IQ scores. ...Although most forms of these chemicals have been banned, many household items, including couch cushions, still contain them.
- BP objects to $34 billion oil spill claims sought by states (Reuters):
Citing the Oil Pollution Act (OPA) underpinning the claims, the company said it considers the methods used to calculate them to be "seriously flawed, not supported by the legislation and to substantially overstate the claims."
- Anti-Agenda 21 bill is back in Arizona, wants to eat your brains (Grist)
- Japan Subsidy for Whaling Is Challenged (NY Times):
A wildlife conservation group said in a report on Wednesday that Japan has been propping up its whaling industry with nearly $400 million in tax money in recent years, stepping up subsidies even as consumption of whale meat here has slumped.
- In Short Run, Obama Can Bypass Congress on Climate (Climate Central):
The Obama administration needs to act, with or without congressional legislation, in order to meet its short-term goal of reducing emissions of planet warming gases by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020...which the country is currently not on track to meet, the report said.
- USDA: Climate Change Set to Batter U.S. Agriculture, Forests (Climate Central):
Climate change is likely to transform U.S. agriculture by mid-century, reducing yields of many staple crops and the productivity of livestock operations, according to a new government analysis. Rising temperatures and shifting precipitation patterns will also harm the nation’s forests, increasing their vulnerability to fires, insect infestations and disease.
- Offshore Drilling: U.S. Halts Drilling on Gulf Wells With Flawed Bolts (Bloomberg News):
Deep-water oil exploration has been disrupted from the Gulf of Mexico to Brazil by the discovery of faulty bolts used in safety equipment less than three years after the worst-ever U.S. maritime crude spill.
- The U.S. electricity system: Overengineered and vulnerable: Overbuilt and vulnerable is no way to go through life. (Grist)
- GOP’s Future Still Stuck In The Past: Rubio Claims There’s ‘Reasonable Debate’ On Cause Of Climate Change (Climate Progress)
- Can Sea Urchins Show Scientists How To Capture Carbon Affordably? (Climate Progress):
The research team developed a process to capture CO2 from waste gas by passing it directly from a chimney top through a water column rich in nickel nanoparticles. The solid calcium carbonate can then be recovered at the bottom of the column.
- Memo To Media: ‘Climate Sensitivity’ Is NOT The Same As Projected Future Warming, World Faces 10°F Rise (Climate Progress) [emphasis added]:
Once you factor in positive feedbacks, even the uber-cautious Fourth Assessment report (AR4) of the IPCC makes clear we are headed toward 1000 ppm (the A1FI scenario).
- VIDEO: Humans Have Already Set in Motion 69 Feet of Sea Level Rise (Mother Jones): Glaciologist Jason Box describes a post-warming world that you won't even be able to recognize.
- 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.
- CO2 Emissions Rises Mean Dangerous Climate Change Now Almost Certain (Guardian)
- Study: Sea Levels Rising 60% Faster Than Projected, Planet Keeps Warming As Expected (Climate Progress)
- Ocean Acidification: Animals are already dissolving in Southern Ocean (New Scientist)
- Global warming targets further out of reach, UN says (Phys.org):
Based on current pledges, global average temperatures could rise by 3 to 5 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.
- Thawing of permafrost to be 'major factor' in global warming, warns UN report (UN News Centre)
- 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.
- Skeptical Science: Get the FULL DEBUNKING of ALL Climate Science Denier Arguments
- Report: Humans near tipping point that could dramatically change Earth (CS Monitor) [emphasis added]:
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)
- 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)
- 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... "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)
- The Real Global Warming Signal (Tamino)
- No, global warming hasn't stopped (New Scientist)
- 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?