IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Obama smacks down attempts to politicize science research; EPA smacks down Alaska's proposed Pebble Mine; Europe smacks down bee-killing pesticides; PLUS: Dr. James Hansen smacks back at Canada's "Neanderthal" government ... All those smack downs and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Portable solar cell sticks to your window; Shocking new numbers on bottled water; French town has too much money, thanks to wind turbines; Tests show pervasive chemicals in Chicago's air; Al Jazeera special report: Fueling geopolitics - the oil saga; China becoming global climate change leader; TN lawmaker says animal-rights activists are like 'rapists'; The 'dark side' of energy independence; Haiti's RE-forestation plan; Obama nominates Charlotte, NC mayor for Transportation; Massive Sacramento Delta water project moves forward; Why do US-born kids have more allergies, asthma?...PLUS: Conservative shoppers like eco-friendly lightbulbs - just don't say it's 'eco-friendly' ... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Extreme Weather Disasters Cost Lots of Money
- VIDEO: All In With Chris Hayes: Six-months after Sandy billions spent on disaster relief (MSNBC)
- NBC Evening News: ‘All Along America’s Coast, People Are Discovering Beach Living May Not Be Sustainable’ http://bit.ly/12eqewJ (Climate Progress)
- 400ppm CO2 - A Climate Milestone:
- Global carbon dioxide levels set to pass 400ppm milestone: The concentration of carbon in the atmosphere over the next few days is expected to hit record levels (Guardian UK):
"I wish it weren't true but it looks like the world is going to blow through the 400ppm level without losing a beat. At this pace we'll hit 450ppm within a few decades," said Ralph Keeling, a geologist with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography which operates the Hawaiian observatory.
- Climate change: A prehistoric window on Earth's future? (BBC): Scientists believe they have identified a time in history, which provides the most complete picture of how the planet might respond to rising CO2 levels.
- Sea Surface Temperatures Reach Highest Level in 150 Years On Northeast Continental Shelf (Science Daily)
- Closing the Consensus Gap on Climate Change (John Cook, Weather Underground)
- EPA Report Smacks Down Alaska's Proposed Pebble Mine:
- Alaska mine would damage streams and wetlands: EPA report (Reuters):
Digging a large mine in southwest Alaska would inflict widespread ecological damage, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said in a report on Friday that could hurt the chances of a proposed project in that region winning regulatory approval. A large scale open-pit mine in Alaska's unspoiled Bristol Bay region would destroy up to 90 miles of salmon and trout spawning streams, harm thousands of acres of wetlands that support fish and subject local waters to chemical spills and releases of untreated wastewater, the EPA report said.
- EU Imposes 2-Yr Ban on Bee-Killing Pesticides:
- Bee-harming pesticides banned in Europe: EU member states vote ushers in continent-wide suspension of neonicotinoid pesticides (Guardian UK)
- Insecticide firms in secret bid to stop ban that could save bees: Last-ditch lobbying to sway vote in Brussels to halt use of killer nerve agents (Guardian UK)
- Wal-mart Doubles Down on Renewable Energy:
- Adapt or Die: Walmart's CEO doubles down on the company's aggressive bet on renewable energy (E & E News):
The retail behemoth is throwing its full economic muscle behind energy sustainability. Local utilities that don't get on board with Walmart's green energy programs could be left behind like an old, worn-out shopping center.
- Walmart Announces New Goals for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (U.S. Dept of Energy)
- President Obama Pledges to Protect Science From Partisan Politicization:
- Obama Promises To Protect Science Research From Partisan Politics (Huffington Post Green):
The president's remarks are particularly timely, coming as the chairman of the Committee on Science, Space and Technology, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), pushes a bill that would essentially politicize decisions made by the National Science Foundation. Smith's proposed legislation would require the NSF director to certify that every grant the federal agency hands out is for work that is "the finest quality, is ground breaking, and answers questions or solves problems that are of utmost importance to society at large."
- New Yorker: ‘Has Obama Already Given Up On Climate Change?’ (Climate Progress)
- VIDEO: President Obama Speaks at the 150th Anniversary of the National Academy of Sciences (WhiteHouse.gov)
- Transcipt: President Barack Obama’s Speech to the National Academy of Sciences (Nat'l Academies Press) [emphasis added]:
The National Academy soon counted the nation’s top scientists as members. They quickly got to work [on Civil War ships]. ... In fact, it’s fair to say we might not be here had you not — (laughter) — certainly I would not be here. (Laughter and applause.)
I will keep working to make sure that our scientific research does not fall victim to political maneuvers or agendas that in some ways would impact on the integrity of the scientific process. That’s what’s going to maintain our standards of scientific excellence for years to come.
- VIDEO: President Obama's Remarks on Natural Disasters, Resilience, at WH Correspondent's Dinner (White House Youtube Channel):
- Transcript: President Barack Obama’s Remarks at the 2013 White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner (TIME)
- Dr. James Hansen Smacks Back At Canada's Resources Minister:
- VIDEO: Top U.S. climate expert calls Conservatives 'Neanderthal' (CBC): Former NASA scientist James Hansen fires back at Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver
- Canada's Joe Oliver slams scientist James Hansen's oilsands claims as 'nonsense' (CBC):
'Crying wolf' does not advance debate, federal natural resources minister says
- TransCanada Lashes Out at EPA Over Keystone, Asserts Canadian 'Sovereignty' (InsideClimate News)
- Land-locked Alberta mulls oil pipeline to Arctic port (Reuters):
Canada's oil-producing province of Alberta, trying to deal with a lack of pipeline capacity to the Pacific Coast and the United States, is mulling the idea of building a line north to an Arctic port, the province's energy minister said on Friday.
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Just stick this portable outlet to your window to start using solar power: It’s a portable socket that gets its power from the sun rather than the grid. You plug into a window instead of into the wall. It’s easy. (Grist)
- VIDEO: Fuelling geopolitics: The oil saga (Al Jazeera English):
As the global competition for energy heats up, we examine how new players are rewriting the rules of the great oil game.
- Chemicals on federal radar pervasive in Chicago air (Environmental Health News):
On the brink of federal regulatory review, chemicals in deodorants, lotions and conditioners are showing up in Chicago’s air at levels that scientists call alarming. The airborne compounds – cyclic siloxanes – are traveling to places as far as the Arctic, and can be toxic to aquatic life. “These chemicals are just everywhere,” said Keri Hornbuckle, an engineering professor at the University of Iowa.
- China becoming global climate change leader: study (AFP) [emphasis added]:
China is rapidly assuming a global leadership role on climate change alongside the United States, a new study said Monday, but it warned greenhouse gas emissions worldwide continue to rise strongly. The report by the independent Australian-based Climate Commission, "The Critical Decade: International Action on Climate Change" presents an overview of action in the last nine months.
- French Town Has Too Much Money To Spend Thanks To Wind Turbines, Mayor Says (Huffington Post Green) [emphasis added]:
According to Couzinié, the town's budget has increased more than fivefold in the past three years --- from 400,000 euros (about $523,000) to 2.3 million euros (more than $3 million) --- as a result of the 11 wind turbines that were installed in 2009. For a town with a population of less than 200 people, the available funds are much more than Arfons needs to thrive."It's as if a rain of gold fell on the village," Couzinié told TV station France 3.
- Slaughterhouse-Profiteering State Lawmaker Suggests Animal Rights Activists Are Like Rapists (Think Progress) [emphasis added]:
The representative in question, Andy Holt (R-Dresden), owns and operates a facility that raises pigs, cows, and goats for slaughter.... Humane Society Public Policy Coordinator Kayci McCloud.. asked Holt to reconsider his support for Tennessee’s recently passed “ag-gag” law. Ag-gag laws contain a variety of provisions (varying from law to law) designed to make it impossible for undercover investigators to document animal cruelty or unsafe farming conditions on farms like Holt’s.
- Bottled Water Sales: The Shocking Reality (Significant Figures by Peter Gleick:
Thirty-six years ago, this industry didn’t exist.
Despite having one of the best municipal tap water systems in the world, American consumers are flocking to commercial bottled water, which costs thousands of times more per gallon. Why?
- The Dark Side of Energy Independence (NY Times) [emphasis added]:
[E]nergy independence will not spell the end of American engagement in that region. On the contrary, lower energy prices will undermine the stability of the Persian Gulf monarchies, whose hefty oil revenues have allowed them to win their populations’ loyalties through patronage and a lack of taxation. These countries do not always share American values or help advance American interests, but anything that destabilizes them would create problems that Washington could not afford to ignore.
- Haiti aiming to plant 1.2 million trees in a single day: The big dig is planned for May 1. It's part of an ambitious government effort to reforest the country after suffering from landslides and desertification. (CS Monitor)
- Wild Weather Swings May Be a Sign of Climate Change (Climate Central)
- Obama touts Mayor Foxx’s transit leadership for Transportation Secretary:
Smooth confirmation expected (Charlotte Observer) [emphasis added]:"[I]f you ask Anthony how that happened, he’ll tell you that one of the reasons is that Charlotte made one of the largest investments in transportation in the city’s history.” Obama touted Foxx’s leadership on a new streetcar project, expanding the city’s international airport and extending Charlotte’s light rail system. The president said Foxx had demonstrated how investments in infrastructure could create jobs and spur economic growth during tough times.
- The consensus seems to be: Let somebody else fix the Delta (LA Times):
When it comes to fixing the hub of California’s water system, most parties would prefer it if someone else made the sacrifices.
- BP Posts $4.2 Billion In Q1 Profits As Its Chemical Dispersants Continue To Harm The Gulf (Climate Progress)
- The limits of climate adaptation are social, not physical or economic (David Roberts, Grist):
Lots of people are averse to large-scale suffering. But lots of people are also averse to substantial mitigation measures. This leaves them placing a great deal of faith in adaptation.
Now, on the merits, this is crazy. Our best understanding is that preventing (mitigating) a degree of global temperature rise is much, much cheaper than adapting to it. Compared to adaptation, mitigation is a huge bargain, whether you’re measuring by money, time, disruption, ecosystem integrity, whatever.
- George Will, Anti-Climate-Science Loon, Strikes Again (New York Magazine):
Any remotely honest person would look at that data and recognize that the trend has been rising.
- U.S.-born kids have more allergies, asthma (Reuters):
Kids and teens who are born abroad and immigrate to the United States are about half as likely to have asthma and allergies as those who are born in the U.S., according to a new study.
- What If We Never Run Out of Oil? (The Atlantic): New technology and a little-known energy source suggest that fossil fuels may not be finite. This would be a miracle --- and a nightmare.
- None of the world's top industries would be profitable if they paid for the natural capital they use (Grist)
- How Far Can Climate Change Go?: (Scientific American) [emphasis added]:
How far can we push the planet?
- COVER STORY: It's Global Warming, Stupid (Businessweek):
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.
- 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.
- Skeptical Science: Get the FULL DEBUNKING of ALL Climate Science Denier Arguments
- 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. ...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 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)