With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
It's GNR's 4th Anniversary!
By Desi Doyen on 2/21/2013, 3:09pm PT  


 

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!

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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:
  • 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:
  • 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:



'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:
  • Essential Climate Science Background: