IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Secretary of State John Kerry comes out swinging on climate change; BP off the hook again - for $3.4 billion; Genetically modified crops do not produce bigger harvests; PLUS: How secretive rightwing billionaires fund the climate change denial industry --- and get a tax deduction for it! ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): The virtues of being unreasonable on Keystone; 1.5C rise in temperature enough to start permafrost melt; Poll: strong support for clean energy, carbon pollution standards; Alaska Senate rolls back cruiseship water pollution standards; Honda to offer rooftop solar systems; Arctic sea ice volume has 'collapsed'; The most terrifying graph you'll see all day; Major methane release is almost inevitable; Mexico's dramatic, rapid recovery from traffic gridlock; US natural gas bubble threatens economy ... PLUS: Unlocking the conspiracy mind-set ... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- BP Off the Hook Again for Gulf Oil Spill Disaster:
- BP challenges 'excessive' spill claims (The Hill's E2 Wire):
BP announced Tuesday that it would defend itself in court against "excessive" claims for civilian penalties and federal gross negligence charges regarding its role in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
- Justice Dept. Deal Reduces BP's Deepwater Horizon Fine by $3.4B (Guardian UK):
Court reduces company's maximum fine a week before trial over blowout that dumped millions of gallons of oil into Gulf of Mexico.
- Battle Lines Drawn for BP's Day in Court (NY Times):
Unless the Justice Department and BP reach a last-minute settlement, the British oil company will return to court on Monday to face tens of billions of dollars in civil claims from the 2010 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico that could cripple the company for years to come.
- BP Faces Civil Trial Over Gulf Oil Spill (LA Times)
- NASA Probes Show 'Alarming' Water Loss in Middle East (Climate Central):
Parts of the Middle East are losing groundwater reserves at "an alarming rate," according to a new analysis of NASA satellite data.From the beginning to 2003 to the end of 2009, portions of Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria that lie within the Tigris and Euphrates river basins shed 117 million acre-feet of water. That's roughly equivalent to the volume of the Dead Sea.
- Japan Suspends Annual Whale Hunt After Clashes with Activists:
- Japan Halts Whale Hunt After Sea Shepherd Clashes: (Australian Broadcasting Co.):
Sea Shepherd is claiming victory after Japan temporarily suspended its annual whale hunt in the Southern Ocean.
- Japanese Whaler Rams Sea Shepherd Ships In Australian Waters: (Environment News Service):
The Japanese whaling factory ship Nisshin Maru has collided with two whale conservation vessels and its own refueling tanker in Australia's Antarctic waters, damaging the other ships. No injuries are reported.
- GMO Seeds: Less Yield, Higher Cost, More Chemicals:
- Do GMO Crops Really Have Higher Yields? (Mother Jones):
Washington State University researcher Charles Benbrook has demonstrated that the net effect of GMOs in the United States has been an increase in use of toxic chemical inputs.
And in a new paper (PDF) funded by the US Department of Agriculture, University of Wisconsin researchers have essentially negated the "more food" argument as well.
- GMOs: Nearly Half of All US Farms Now Have Superweeds (Mother Jones):
Last year's drought took a big bite out of the two most prodigious US crops, corn and soy. But it apparently didn't slow down the spread of weeds that have developed resistance to Monsanto's herbicide Roundup (glyphosate), used on crops engineered by Monsanto to resist it. More than 70 percent of all the the corn, soy, and cotton grown in the US is now genetically modified to withstand glyphosate.
- SCOTUS: Justices Hostile to Farmer's Argument Against Monsanto: (Reuters):
Supreme Court justices signaled on Tuesday that agribusiness giant Monsanto Co was in a strong position to claim that an Indiana farmer violated its patent for a type of soybean.
- How Rightwing Billionaires Secretly Fund Climate Change Denial Industry
- Secret funding helped build vast network of climate denial thinktanks (Guardian UK):
Anonymous billionaires donated $120m to more than 100 anti-climate groups working to discredit climate change science [And it's all tax-deductible! --- ed.]
- Digging For Dark Money (Columbia Journalism Review) [emphasis added]:
Exposes by the Guardian and Center for Public Integrity have unravelled parts of a dark network which launders the millions flowing from fossil-fuel interests like the Koch brothers to climate change denial and disinformation outlets. It was documents obtained by scientist Peter Gleick, whose undercover tactics brought criticism from some journalists, that helped bring the story to light.
- Donor's Trust: ATM for Climate Denial (Democracy Now!, via Climate Crock of the Week):
- Sec. of State John Kerry Calls for Action on Climate Change:
- In 1st Big Speech, Kerry Sounds Like A Climate Hawk With The Courage To Reject Keystone XL Pipeline (Climate Progress) [emphasis added]:
We as a nation must have the foresight and courage to make the investments necessary to safeguard the most sacred trust we keep for our children and grandchildren: an environment not ravaged by rising seas, deadly superstorms, devastating droughts, and the other hallmarks of a dramatically changing climate.
And let's face it - we are all in this one together. No nation can stand alone. We share nothing so completely as our planet.
When we work with others - large and small - to develop and deploy the clean technologies that will power a new world, we're also helping create new markets and new opportunities for America's second-to-none innovators and entrepreneurs to succeed in the next great revolution.
- Kerry comes out swinging on climate change (The Hill's E2 Wire)
- World Bank: 'A 4°C [7°F] World Can, And Must, Be Avoided' To Avert 'Devastating' Impacts (Climate Progress)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- The virtues of being unreasonable on Keystone (David Roberts, Grist):
The argument of Keystone protestors is not that there's One True Way, but that eventually there has to be some way. Somebody's got to start taking these dire warnings seriously and do something, something specific and concrete. You can't support Doing Something but oppose Doing This Particular Thing forever. Sooner or later, people have to draw lines and take sides. Progress does not happen without struggle.
- Unlocking the Conspiracy Mind-Set (NYT Green):
The strongest finding in the survey was that ideological belief in an unregulated free market tended to be a predictor of someone's willingness to reject the findings of mainstream climate research. No great surprise there. It was the secondary findings that set off a brouhaha.
- 1.5C rise in temperature enough to start permafrost melt, scientists warn (Guardian UK):
Team of scientists use radiometric dating techniques on Russian cave formations to measure historic melting rates
- Polling Finds Strong Support For Clean Energy And Stricter Carbon Pollution Standards (Climate Progress):
Yesterday, Pew Research released new poll research that re-confirms the trend. When asked to choose between developing "alternative sources such as wind, solar and hydrogen" and expanding "exploration and production of oil, coal and natural" gas as their preferred priority for addressing America's energy needs, 54 percent of Americans went with alternative energy. Only 34 percent chose continued prioritization of fossil fuels. That's a drop from the 63 percent high in 2011, but an uptick over the 52 percent response last year.
- Rollback of Cruiseship Wastewater Rules Approved by Alaska Senate: (Anchorage Daily News):
The Alaska Senate on Tuesday approved a Parnell administration measure to roll back cruise ship wastewater standards that were approved by voters in 2006. The vote was 14-6.
- Home Solar Systems to Be an Option for Honda Customers (NY Times)
- Arctic Death Spiral Bombshell: CryoSat-2 Confirms Sea Ice Volume Has Collapsed (Climate Progress)
- The most terrifying graph you'll see all year (Digby's Hullabaloo):
See that 5 degrees Celsius we're projected to hit by 2050? That's 9 degrees Fahrenheit.
Your brain will fight it, even with the numbers on the page staring back at you, because the collapse of civilization is simply beyond human comprehension. To really internalize this information means you would need to accept things like...
- Major methane release is almost inevitable (New Scientist):
For the first time, we have an indication of when this could start happening. Anton Vaks of the University of Oxford in the UK and colleagues have reconstructed the history of the Siberian permafrost going back 500,000 years. We already know how global temperatures have risen and fallen as ice sheets have advanced and retreated, so Vaks's team's record of changing permafrost gives an indication of how sensitive it is to changing temperatures.
- Mexico City Makes Dramatic Recovery From Gridlock: (ClimateWire):
Little more than a year after making it to the top of IBM's list of worst commuter cities, Mexico City has returned to the urban transit spotlight --- this time at the receiving end of international praise.
- When Natural Gas Bubble Explodes, Economy Could Implode All Over Again (Crooks & Liars) [emphasis in original]:
It is highly unlikely that market-savvy bankers did not recognize that by overproducing natural gas a glut would occur with a concomitant severe price decline. This price decline, however, opened the door for significant transactional deals worth billions of dollars and thereby secured further large fees for the investment banks involved. In fact, shales became one of the largest profit centers within these banks in their energy M&A portfolios since 2010. The recent natural gas market glut was largely effected through overproduction of natural gas in order to meet financial analyst’s production targets and to provide cash flow to support operators’ imprudent leverage positions.
- Emails: Officials Worried About Water Temps at CT Nuke Plant (AP):
Emails among federal regulators show that officials running Connecticut's nuclear plant want to use water that's even warmer than the temperature that forced it to shut a unit in August. The emails have been obtained by The Associated Press through an open records request. They show regulators were cool to at least two other suggestions by Millstone Power Station in Waterford to operate with warmer water.
- Fracking: EPA Officials Ignored Engineer's Theory in Range Resources Contamination Case (EnergyWire):
A former Texas state oil and gas regulator outlined in 2011 how two Range Resources Corp. wells outside Fort Worth could have leaked natural gas into the water supply of nearby homes.
- UK Climate Change Secretary Slams Deniers As 'Dogmatic And Blinkered' (Climate Progress):
"It screams out from decade upon decade of research. The basic physics of climate change is irrefutable."
- The New Sustainable Energy Factbook: A Strong Case for Consistent Policy (Bloomberg New Energy Finance, via Climate Progress.org):
The report provides a detailed account of the energy market for investors and policymakers making a strong case for the role of stable policies in leveling the playing field for clean energy technologies in the evolving energy landscape.
- New Research: World on Track for Climate Disaster:
- 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.
- Essential Climate Science Background:
- 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?
- Polling Finds Strong Support For Clean Energy And Stricter Carbon Pollution Standards (Climate Progress):
READER COMMENTS ON
"'Green News Report' - February 21, 2013"
(5 Responses so far...)
COMMENT #1 [Permalink]
... Davey Crocket said on 2/22/2013 @ 9:15 am PT...
" It was documents obtained by scientist Peter Gleick" LOL a paragon of virtue.
As to permafrost and methane, the permafrost is already melting and methane release is over the edge already too.
Davey Crocket @1,
"It was documents obtained by scientist Peter Gleick" LOL a paragon of virtue.
So which is it, you have to be "a paragon of virtue" to be a climate science rejector or a "paragon of virtue" to not like getting your asses fooled like Mitch McConnel reading articles from The Onion? Dig:
A scientist who posed as a board member of a conservative organization to gain access to its confidential information has been reinstated as president of the Pacific Institute, the environmental research organization that he founded in California. The institute said Wednesday in a statement that an independent inquiry had confirmed the account offered by the scientist, Peter Gleick, of the false pretenses under which he obtained documents of the Heartland Institute in February. The documents contained details about the budget, strategy and donors to the institute, which disputes that global warming is under way.
(NY Times). As my man on The A-Team used to say: "he played you, FOO" ...
COMMENT #4 [Permalink]
... Davey Crocket said on 2/22/2013 @ 7:41 pm PT...
It is easier to perceive error than to find truth, for the former lies on the surface and is easily seen, while the latter lies in the depth, where few are willing to search for it.
Keep up the good work Desi, and remember that Doomers are the ones bringing doom, those who warn people of it are Public Servants of the good kind.
And do not hold back:
The two greatest myths about global warming communications are 1) constant repetition of doomsday messages has been a major, ongoing strategy and 2) that strategy doesn’t work and indeed is actually counterproductive!
These myths are so deeply ingrained in the mainstream media that such messaging, when it is tried, is routinely attacked and denounced — and the flimsiest studies are interpreted exactly backwards to drive the erroneous message home ... You’d think it would be pretty obvious that the public is not going to be concerned about an issue unless one explains why they should be concerned about an issue. And the social science literature, including the vast literature on advertising and marketing, could not be clearer that only repeated messages have any chance of sinking in and moving the needle
(Think Progress). Keep up the blunt truth so it overcomes the blunt lies.