IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Amid early wildfires, CA Governor Brown warns climate change is getting expensive and deadly; Record fine in natural gas pipeline explosion; JPMorgan accused of Enron-style energy market manipulation; It's official: 2012 the 9th hottest year on record; PLUS: Rightwingers buy money-saving lightbulbs - unless it helps the environment... All that and plenty of Fox 'News' bashing in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Arctic Ocean acidifying faster than previously thought; Sequester cuts hurting EPA's ability to catch pollution criminals; Wind turbine innovation: batteries; Discovery utilizes low-grade silicon for cheaper solar PV; MI nuclear plant shutdown due to leak; Markey asks Exxon to account for AR pipeline spill; Canada: Harper Admin muzzling scientists; Running up against energy limits in a finite world ... PLUS: VIDEO: Adorable teen asks why wind turbine “noise” is no biggie for Germans ... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Record Fine Recommended For PG&E Pipeline Explosion:
- VIDEO: Record $2.25-billion penalty recommended in San Bruno blast (la tIMES):
State regulators urge the record fine for Pacific Gas & Electric over the 2010 natural gas explosion that killed 8 people.
[I]nvestigators found more than 100 violations by the company, some dating back decades."Imposing a fine for each violation ... would result in tens of billions of dollars of fines, which is more than PG&E's net worth," the report said.
- JPMorgan Chase Accused of Enron-style Energy Market Manipulation:
- JPMorgan’s Role in Power Market Comes Under Scrutiny
- JPMorgan Caught in Swirl of Regulatory Woes (NY Times):
Government investigators have found that JPMorgan Chase devised “manipulative schemes” that transformed “money-losing power plants into powerful profit centers,” and that one of its most senior executives gave “false and misleading statements” under oath.
- JPMorgan Chase accused of rigging energy markets (CS Monitor):
JPMorgan Chase developed schemes to sell electricity at falsely attractive prices in Michigan and California, according to The New York Times. The market manipulation could result in JPMorgan Chase receiving penalties from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
- It's Official: 2012 Earth's 9th hottest year on record:
- United Nations: 2012 was 9th-hottest year since 1850 (USA Today):
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) says that last year was the ninth-warmest since record-keeping began in 1850, despite the cooling effect of the weather pattern called La Nina. The U.N.'s weather agency says this marks the 27th year in a row the global average temperature...surpassed the 1961-1990 average. WMO said in annual climate report Thursday the years from 2001 to 2012 were all among the top 13 warmest on record.
- NASA - Wet Areas To Get Wetter, Dry Areas Drier:
- Dry Lands Getting Drier, Wet Getting Wetter: Earth's Water Cycle Intensifying With Atmospheric Warming (Science Daily):
A clear change in salinity has been detected in the world's oceans, signalling shifts and an acceleration in the global rainfall and evaporation cycle. In a paper just published in the journal Science, Australian scientists from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, California, reported changing patterns of salinity in the global ocean during the past 50 years, marking a clear fingerprint of climate change.
- NASA: Warming Climate Likely Means More Floods, Droughts (NPR)
- Bad news: Calif. snowpack 17 percent of normal (San Jose Mercury News)
- California's fire season is more than a month early because of unusually dry conditions and hot temperatures (USA Today)
- CA Gov. Brown Warns Climate Change Is Expensive:
- Jerry Brown blames climate change for state's early fire season (LA Times)
- Wild Weather Swings May Be a Sign of Climate Change (Climate Central)
- California Girds for Severe Fire Season as Dry Lands Burn (Bloomberg): Tinder-box conditions have sparked more than 840 wildfires since January, about 320 more than the five-year average.
- VIDEO: State's Emergency Management Leaders Urge Fire Preparedness (CA Emergency Management Agency) [emphasis added]:
Brown: "We ought to recognize that our climate is changing and the weather is getting intense," Brown said. "It’s going to cost a lot of money and a lot of lives.... This business of fire, is devastating to those that it affects. We have to be ready for it. ....We've got a big job ahead and you've got my backing."
- Just Don't Say "Good For The Environment": Rightwingers Like Money-Saving Lightbulbs:
- When it comes to the environment, many conservatives don’t like conserving (Ars Technica): Some avoid long-term savings if they're wrapped in a carbon-neutral message.
- Pro-Environment Light Bulb Labeling Turns Off Conservatives, Study Finds (National Geographic) [emphasis added]:
How many conservatives does it take to change a light bulb? A more intriguing question might be, "How many conservatives can you persuade to switch to energy-efficient light bulbs?" New research suggests that fewer will buy such bulbs when they're labeled as being good for the environment, largely because the issue of carbon emission reductions is so politically polarizing in the United States.
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- VIDEO: Adorable teen investigates why wind turbine “noise” is no biggie for Germans (Climate Crocks):
If wind turbines were as “bad” for you as windbaggers in the US would like you to believe, there should be a lot of body bags piling up in places like Germany, Denmark, and, well, Iowa – places that have large penetration by wind generated electricity. Or at least, one would think, there’d be an increased incidence in the headaches-to leukemia-to-herpes complex of symptoms that the looney right has identified as part of “wind turbine syndrome”. But of course, there is not. Why?
- 10 Key Findings From a Rapidly Acidifying Arctic Ocean (Mother Jones) [emphasis added]:
As predicted by chemistry, change in the Arctic Ocean is accelerating as temperatures warm faster than the global average, as the sea ice melts, as northern rivers run stronger and faster, delivering more fresh water farther into the northernmost ocean, and as we continue blasting an ever increasing quantity of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
- Ocean Acidification: the Latest Unknown for Stressed Arctic Ecosystem (Reuters): The Arctic ecosystem, already under pressure from record ice melts, faces another potential threat in the form of rapid acidification of the ocean, according to an international study.
- A Key Experiment to Probe the Future of Our Acidifying Oceans (Yale 360): In a Swedish fjord, European researchers are conducting an ambitious experiment aimed at better understanding how ocean acidification will affect marine life. Ultimately, these scientists hope to determine which species might win and which might lose in a more acidic ocean.
- When Science Goes Silent: "With the muzzling of scientists, [Canadian Prime Minister] Harper’s obsession with controlling the message verges on the Orwellian." (Maclean's)
- Toxic Waste Sites May Cause Health Problems for Millions (Science News): Living near a toxic waste site may represent as much of a health threat as some infectious diseases, a study in three developing countries finds.
- EPA's top cop: Due to budget cuts, 'There are significant geographic regions we can no longer cover' (Greenwire):
Doug Parker, the director of the agency's Criminal Investigation Division (CID), acknowledged last week that limitations on new hiring and furloughs mandated by sequestration are making the thin green line of EPA special agents even thinner.
"There are areas where there were boots on the ground where there are no longer boots on the ground," Parker said. He declined to be more specific about where the holes in coverage have developed for fear of alerting the bad guys.
- Battery-Equipped Wind Turbine Better Integrates Green Energy Onto Grid (Yale 360)
- New discovery allows low-grade silicon to be turned into high-efficiency solar panels (Treehugger)
- MI: Palisades nuclear plant shut-down after leak (Russia Today):
A Michigan-based nuclear power plant has been shut down due to water leakage from the tank, which exceeded its capacity. Inspectors are now studying the problem to see if there is any danger to the public....The incident marks the second time the injection and refueling tank leaked, according to federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokeswoman Viktoria Mitlyng.
- Rep. Markey Asks Exxon CEO to Explain Contradictory Statements on Arkansas Oil Spill (Inside Climate News): Markey cites police reports, obtained by InsideClimate News, which reveal discrepancies and contradictions in Exxon's account of the pipeline spill.
- Bangladesh Building Collapse Death Toll Tops 700 As Protests Rage On (Huffington Post)
- Sex Of Turtles Changing As Climate Change Warms Planet; Female Painted Turtles On The Rise (Huffington Post Green)
- Reaching Energy Limits in a Finite World (The Energy Collective):
At some point, in a finite world, we start reaching limits. There are now about seven billion people in the world. We could probably add some more, but how many? What is it that limits our ability to add more people to the world we live in today?
- Unburnable fuel: Either governments are not serious about climate change or fossil-fuel firms are overvalued (The Economist) [emphasis added]:
Markets can misprice risk, as investors in subprime mortgages discovered in 2008. Several recent reports suggest that markets are now overlooking the risk of "unburnable carbon". The share prices of oil, gas and coal companies depend in part on their reserves. The more fossil fuels a firm has underground, the more valuable its shares. But what if some of those reserves can never be dug up and burned? ... If governments were determined to implement their climate policies, a lot of that carbon would have to be left in the ground...
- What would 'wartime mobilization' to fight climate change look like? (David Roberts, Grist):
[The] scale and speed seem to demand something like wartime mobilization. That metaphor gets used a lot. I've used it many times myself. But is it apt? And what would it mean to take it seriously? There's been lots of academic attention to the technology side of rapid, large-scale mitigation, but little attention to the governance side. How could a country engineer such a transition? What powers and institutions would be necessary?
- Climate Change: Top Investors Will Feel Heat of New Epoch (Bloomberg) [emphasis added]:
The interesting thing about Gross's choice of words is that in the time he has been an investor, there has been a change of epoch --- a geological epoch --- that might itself prove to be the ultimate test for elite investors.
- 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)