Tag Archive for Climate Change

The Dangers of Nuclear IceNine

We were just about to start getting back into the nuclear energy business ourselves after refraining from building any new nuclear reactors for decades.
The great cautionary tale of the 19th century is Frankenstein, Mary Shelly’s novel. It’s the story of a brilliant scientist, Victor Frankenstein, who builds a monster out of spare parts and then breathes life into it.
Instead of being grateful to his creator, the monster runs away. It eventually destroys Frankenstein and everyone he cares about.
The great cautionary tale of the 20th century is Cat’s Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut’s novel. It’s the story of a brilliant scientist, A Read more

The Clean Energy Revolution Wont Be About Clean Energy

The uprisings in the Middle East and the growing austerity-induced unrest among workers in the US and Europe have provided new hope for environmental movement leaders who for years have struggled to mobilize the pubic to confront the looming catastrophes of growth-capitalism.
A good example is climate leader and 350.org founder, Bill McKibben. In February, McKibben authored a short blog post celebrating Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s decision to step down. He wrote of the revolution as a teachable moment for the climate movement, suggesting that if “a real people’s movement” could bring down an apparently immovable tyrant like Mubarak a similar movement could bring down the fossil fuel giants.
McKibben is right. As the overlords of the current world order, fossil fuel companies do have a lot to fear from a powerful popular uprising Read more

Newt on Knut

Presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich is in mourning. He is very saddened by the sudden passing of Knut the polar bear in Germany. He tweeted:
“Sad news! Just learned knut the polar bear died suddenly at 4,” Gingrich tweeted over the weekend. “Callista and I visited him in Berlin when he was 5 months old-he was cute.”
Knut’s passing was very sad Read more

Green News Report March 24 2011 Audio

TWITTER: @GreenNewsReport.
The ‘GNR’ is also now available on your cell phone via Stitcher Radio’s mobile app!.
IN TODAY’S RADIO REPORT: Update on Japan’s nuke crisis: Tap water warning lifted for Tokyo infants, but spreading elsewhere; Workers at stricken plant hospitalized for radiation exposure; Nukes now less popular in the US (for some reason); King crab invasion at the South Pole; PLUS: Japanese villages struggle to maintain tradition amidst disaster… All that and more in today’s Green News Report!…
Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at [email protected] or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.
IN ‘GREEN NEWS EXTRA’ (see links below): Head exploder: GOPer wants creationism taught in school; WorldWaterDay: Which nations are most at risk?; BP Oil Disaster: Pipe piece caused blowout preventer failure; Google Maps now displaying EV charging stations; GA tree farm re-establishing American Chestnut; USDA gives GM crops boost over organics; Road salt killing Twin Cities’ lakes; EU Chief: French GM maize ban illegal; HUGE lease sale for WY coal; Lead, chemicals taint some urban gardens; EPA, DOJ sue MI’s largest coal plant; Canada is getting warmer: study …

read full news from www.huffingtonpost.com

We Can Do Something About Tsunami Devastation

The ferocious tsunami that devastated Japan’s coast is a tragic reminder that we have an uneasy relationship with our oceans. While we can’t prevent earthquakes, we can minimize at least some of the damage from tsunamis on American shores by dealing with climate change and rising ocean levels now.
March 20th marked the beginning of National Tsunami Awareness Week. We will continue to hear more about the tragedy in Japan and about which preparations worked or which ones didn’t. We will hear much more about awareness and warning systems Read more

Green News Report March 22 2011 Audio

TWITTER: @GreenNewsReport.
The ‘GNR’ is also now available on your cell phone via Stitcher Radio’s mobile app!.
IN TODAY’S RADIO REPORT: Not out of the woods yet: Japan’s nuclear and humanitarian crisis continues as electricity returns to the Fukushima nuclear plant which remains precariously on edge while radiation poisoning is found in milk, vegetables and sea water — but Japan’s wind farms come to the rescue and new nuke reviews are set for US plants; PLUS: Surprise! A new 100-mile oil slick spotted in the Gulf of Mexico … All that and more in today’s Green News Report!
Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at [email protected] or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.
IN ‘GREEN NEWS EXTRA’ (see links below): New tech could make desalination portable, cheaper; Delay in coal plant rules cost thousands of lives; Record rains hit Philipines, cause more flooding in Australia; German town where recycling really pays; US Chamber of Commerce: “The gang that couldn’t lobby straight”; New UK plastic recycling plant takes all sorts; How not to change a climate skeptic’s mind; Shipwreck threatens island’s penguins; Wolves could be de-listed; King Crabs Invade Antarctica for First Time in 40 Million Years …

read full news from www.huffingtonpost.com

Why We Build Nuclear Power Stations in Earthquake Zones

The nuclear tragedy currently unfolding in Japan started decades ago on a piece of paper. Before any infrastructure project that size is approved, a risk assessment needs to be done. Hazards are identified and a cost/benefit analysis is made about how to approach those risks.
If constructing in a seismic zone that hasn’t seen an earthquake above a magnitude of M6.5 in 100 years, do you build to withstand a magnitude of 7? Or put in extra the millions upfront to protect against a magnitude of 8 that may never come? Or do you simply choose not to build a nuclear power station in an earthquake zone at all?
Every critical energy installation (and much of all infrastructure) is built on the basis of such risk assessments Read more

Sun Come Up The Carteret Islands Environmental Refugees

The red carpet, glamorous gowns and flashing cameras at the Academy Awards couldn’t seem more distant from the wooden huts, taro cultivation and subsistence fishing of the Carteret Islands, a strand of low-lying islands in the South Pacific. But for a brief moment at the awards last month, the fate of approximately 2500 Carteret Islanders alighted upon public consciousness when my film, Sun Come Up, was announced as a nominee for Best Documentary Short Subject.
The situation in the Carteret Islands, which are off the coast of Papua New Guinea, is one that all should pay attention to as the world warms and we begin feeling the devastating effects of climate change. Although their own carbon footprint is virtually nonexistent, the islanders bear the heartbreaking distinction of being some of the world’s first environmental refugees, facing imminent displacement as the sea encroaches upon their home.
As the tides have risen around their atoll of six islands and storm surges have increased, their wells have been ruined by saltwater, their gardens have been destroyed, and their land has eroded. The islanders are working to evacuate their homeland and relocate to Bougainville, a mountainous island 50 miles away.
The Carteret islanders are not alone Read more

Were Destroying the Most Amazing Thing in Our Lives Interview With Polar Photographer Paul Nicklen

South Georgia Island. Wildlife photojournalist Paul Nicklen says he seeks “intimate” images of animals like this elephant seal. Sometimes that poses risks. To his life Read more

Swarm of the Black Swans

Moving to Southwest Washington State where I built a house on the beach with my hands and the skill and hands of a couple of excellent German expatriates, I was struck with the attitude of locals toward storm surge and possible tsunami. It had never happened the locals said, dismissively. Last week a tsunami happened, and, thankfully, we were spared. We weren’t so in 2007 when a hurricane force storm hit and denuded the surrounding tree farms of hundred year old trees and took 30 feet out of the barrier dunes Read more

The Obama Administration Must Abandon its Nuclear Energy Policy

Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, Wednesday, confirmed to Congress that the Obama administration would continue to propose more than $8 billion in loan guarantees for the construction of a new fleet of nuclear power plants. As Secretary Chu cautiously acknowledged the administration’s budget request during congressional testimony, reactor number four at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station was on the verge of melting down — one of its spent fuel tanks completely drained of water.
It’s confounding why and how the White House can continue to endorse this policy, given what we’ve witnessed in Japan, while everyone from Europe to China is backing away from nuclear power until they can reassess the dangers of a Fukushima-style event.
Originally, the administration’s inclusion of nuclear as part of its comprehensive energy policy wasn’t quite as head-scratchingly bizarre as its support for, say, the fairy tale of “clean coal.” But it still indicated a major shift for the Democratic Party. Democrats are doing nuclear power now. Okeedokee Read more

Those Who Contribute the Least Greenhouse Gases Will Be Most Impacted by Climate Change

The central question of climate change is, how will it affect humanity? New research has been published examining this question, estimating which regions are most vulnerable to future climate change (Samson et al 2011). The researchers then compared the global map of climate vulnerability to a global map of carbon dioxide emissions. The disturbing finding was that the countries that have contributed the least to carbon dioxide emissions are the same regions that will be most affected by the impacts of climate change.
To estimate the impact of climate change on people, scientists from McGill University, Montreal, developed a new metric called Climate Demography Vulnerability Index (CDVI). This takes into account how regional climate will change as well as how much local population is expected to grow Read more

Weekly Climate Science Roundup

Nearly every week it seems there are new papers on how ecosystems are responding to climate change, as well as how climate change is affecting species extinction rates. Last week was no different: one paper shows shifting biomes in Alaska, and another compares modern rates of extinction to the “great” extinctions of Earth’s history. The paper on extinction makes for a fascinating read, addressing the key question: how do today’s human-driven extinctions compare to the major biodiversity catastrophes of the past?
Other studies, detailed below, increase our knowledge of the world's largest ice sheets, and one study reveals more complexities of growing crops for use as biofuels. These studies, and a number of others published between March 1-7, are summarized here:
Paper Title: Has Earth’s sixth mass extinction already arrived?
Journal: Nature
Authors: Anthony D Read more

Green News Report March 15 2011 Audio

TWITTER: @GreenNewsReport.
The ‘GNR’ is also now available on your cell phone via Stitcher Radio’s mobile app!.
IN TODAY’S SPECIAL RADIO REPORT: Natural disaster, humanitarian disaster, and now man-made disaster, as 50 nuclear plant workers are all that stand in the way of full nuclear meltdown at Fukushima in Japan … All that and more in today’s Green News Report!
Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at [email protected] or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.
IN ‘GREEN NEWS EXTRA’ (see links below): Politifact says GOP lies about gas prices; 5 myths about EPA agenda; House GOP votes to discard science; CA farmers: pesticides vs. new bike paths; Feb Read more

FGases An Essential Landmark for Europes LowCarbon Roadmap

Next week, the EU’s Council of Ministers will meet to discuss Europe’s Roadmap for moving to a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050. This document charts the route that member states must follow to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with the ultimate aim of keeping global temperature rises within safe limits.
The roadmap focuses (as it rightly should) on limiting the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions that result from our overreliance on fossil fuels. But it neglects to adequately address limits on other gases and particles forcing climate change Read more

Why Wisconsin Matters for Environmentalists

For one thing, the attack on worker’s rights in Wisconsin matters for environmentalists because it matters for everyone. A war on workers is a war on all of us.
Across the country, many of us are public workers or have family or friends that are. We also depend on public school teachers and every other public worker to maintain the daily business of our cities Read more

Koch Brothers US Chamber Why Congress Doesnt Care About Climate Change

Among other truths made completely clear by the showdown in Wisconsin: the outsized role of the Koch brothers in American politics.
Charles and David, the third and fourth richest men in America, first gained notoriety in the fall, when a remarkable expose by Jane Mayer in the New Yorker showed how they’d funded not only the Tea Party but also the hydra-headed campaign to undermine the science of global warming, all in the service of even more profit for their oil and gas business.
But it was in Wisconsin that the down-and-dirty details of their operation began to emerge — they’d not only funded the election campaigns of the governor and the new GOP legislature, but also an advertising effort attacking the state’s teachers. They’d helped pay for buses to ferry in counterprotesters. We were even treated to the sight of new Governor Scott Walker fawning over them in what turned out to be a hoax phone call. The Kochs are right up there now with the great plutocrats of American history, a 21st century version of the robber barons.
The trouble is, they don’t care Read more

Tim DeChristopher Is Convicted Were Blowing This Moment Too

Exactly a week ago on March 3, young climate change activist Tim DeChristopher was convicted for disrupting oil and gas lease sales on public lands in southern Utah. He is an international celebrity right now. Hundreds of articles have come out on this story: you can read news stories here and here; opinion pieces here and here; and interviews with Tim, here and here.
Late last year when the Obama administration was contemplating giving Shell the key to go drill in the Arctic Ocean, I used humor and wickedness as a last resort to stop the permit Read more

The Snowmageddon Effect Understanding Irrational Thinking About Global Warming

On Feb. 5 and 6, 2010, a blizzard dumped historic snowfalls on the mid-Atlantic region of the country. Elkridge, Md., got more than 38 inches over the two days, and Washington, D.C., where I live, ended up with about 20 inches of accumulation. That’s a lot of snow for us, but this was just the start Read more

Jay Inslee and the Power of Stating the Obvious

Congressman Jay Inslee (D-WA) recently commented that Republicans have “an allergy to science and scientists” during a congressional hearing targeting the EPA. This observation is significant not because of its insight, as Inslee was doing little more than stating the obvious. It is, however, unusual to hear a member of congress make these kinds of matter of fact statements. While debate in congress is often quite intense, Democrats seem uncomfortable saying these kinds of things even when they are painfully obvious Read more

Naomi Klein on AntiUnion Bills Her Big Climate Fear and the Shock Doctrine Done AmericanStyle

As a wave of anti-union bills are introduced across the country following the wake of Wall Street financial crisis, many analysts are picking up on the theory that award-winning journalist and author Naomi Klein first argued in her 2007 bestselling book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. In the book, she reveals how those in power use times of crisis to push through undemocratic and extreme free market economic policies.
“This is a frontal assault on democracy,” Naomi Klein said today in an interview with Democracy Now! “It’s a kind of a corporate coup d’etat.”
On the continued protests against Gov. Scott Walker’s attempt to curb union powers under the guise of a state financial crisis, Klein says, “The Wisconsin protests are an incredible example of how to resist the shock doctrine.”
Klein has been reporting on global warming and the climate justice movement for years Read more

How Green Is My Rupert Murdoch

News Corporation, the parent company of Dow Jones and Fox News, has declared itself carbon neutral. According to a memo from Chairman Rupert Murdoch:
Murdoch’s memo also says its businesses in Britain now obtain 100 percent of their electricity from renewable sources. And its offices in South Brunswick, N.J., shared with Dow Jones at a corporate office campus, is nearing completion of a 4.1-megawatt solar power system that will provide nearly half of the facility’s electrical needs at peak capacity.
How wonderful that the owner of Fox News, in particular, is so forward-thinking and progressive when it comes to issues concerning the environment. Murdoch is one of the most successful media moguls on the planet, and part of this is due to his focus on the bottom line Read more

The Gospel of Protecting the Environment

Among the budget battles being waged in Washington, D.C. is one that will deeply impact the health of our environment: how much do we spend on environmental protection and regulation? House GOP leaders have fought for a 30 percent budget reduction for the Environmental Protection Agency, notes the National Resources Defense Council, and that is only one of the anti-environmental policies under consideration. For people of faith, attempts at harming the environment should be considered tantamount to harming God’s own creation.
The good news is that over the last decade a growing consensus has emerged between Roman Catholics, mainline Christians, orthodox Christians and evangelicals Christians that stewardship over Creation, granted to humanity in Genesis, includes protecting the environment and reversing the damage created by human caused global climate change Read more

Peter King Ignores Poison Gas Disaster Threat to New York City

Congressman Peter King (R-NY), the Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, faced protests from hundreds of New Yorkers and interfaith leaders this weekend over his plans to single out Muslim communities in upcoming Congressional hearings. While Rep. King seeks to look tough on terrorism by scapegoating people for their religious beliefs, last week he showed his willingness to leave New Yorkers and millions of other Americans vulnerable to a catastrophic terrorist attack on dangerous chemical plants.
Instead of ensuring that the highest risk chemical plants convert to safer technologies, King joined Representatives Dan Lungren (R-CA) and Tim Murphy (R-PA) and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) in supporting weak chemical plant security standards. Championed by chemical industry lobbyists, these rules leave 110 million Americans threatened by these pre-positioned weapons of mass destruction Read more