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Stop lying! Enviros are fed up with false ads about Obama’s power plant rules

radio ads

Even as dishonest fossil-fuel propaganda goes, a National Mining Association advertisement being played in Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, and Pennsylvania is a true doozy.

Environmental groups have been calling on radio stations to stop playing the ad, which claims that electricity rates have nearly doubled because of the Obama administration's proposed CO2 regulations for new power plants -- which would be pretty extraordinary, given that the rules haven't even taken effect yet. Enviros say playing the ad violates Federal Communications Commission guidelines on honesty in advertising.

Yet 23 radio stations continue to air the ad, prompting the environmentalists to take their complaint on Wednesday to the FCC commissioners. Here are highlights from a letter cosigned by the Natural Resources Defense Council,, Environmental Defense Fund, Greenpeace USA, and 22 other groups:


Here’s how California could fix its drought-time water woes

hosing with water

The drought that's ravaging every square inch of California is nature's doing, albeit arguably juiced by climate change. But water shortfalls, which are prompting the government to suspend environmental protections for rivers and wildlife, are largely the result of inefficient use of water, and that's a problem that can be solved.

That's the message of a new report by the Pacific Institute and the Natural Resources Defense Council. The nonprofits looked at the practices of California's farmers and cities, and at statewide water-recycling and stormwater-capture practices, and identified improvements that could provide 10.8 million to 13.7 million acre-feet of additional fresh water every year. That's more water than is used by all the cities in the state every year.

"The good news is that solutions to our water problem exist," the report states. "They are being implemented to varying degrees around the state with good results, but a lot more can be done."

Here's an overview of the report findings, in handy infographic form:


Guess which company got the first U.S. commercial drone permit?


If you had to pick one company operating on American soil to be the first to get a permit to use a new, vaguely frightening, and highly controversial technology, which would it be? The one that caused the worst oil disaster in U.S. history -- and then unsuccessfully tried to get out of paying damages to the fishermen whose livelihoods it destroyed? The one responsible, five years prior, for an oil refinery explosion that killed 15 workers? The one with a historically abysmal safety record?

Yeah, that one. Oh -- hello, BP! Always a pleasure to hear from the Charlie Sheen of the oil industry.


The beading edge

Illinois becomes first state to ban lake-fouling microbeads

products with microbeads

The plastic microbeads found in many facewash, toothpaste, and other personal-care products are making a real mess. The exfoliating beads wash down bathroom drains, into sewers, through water treatment plants, into lakes and oceans, and into the food chain. Underwater layers of microbeads are particularly prevalent in the Great Lakes, which helps explain why New York state lawmakers moved to ban the beads this past winter, prompting Californian politicians to follow suit.

But New York and California have been bested in the race to pinch out the microbead problem by Illinois, which rings the southwestern portion of Lake Michigan. The Chicago Tribune reports:


Fish are great at fighting climate change. Too bad we’re eating them all.

Hallie Bateman

Climate change may be screwing with your seafood, but it turns out your seafood has been fighting back.

Fish, like Aquaman, might not seem to have a lot of relevance in the world-saving department. Never mind that the world is 99 percent ocean by habitable volume: We're up here in the 1 percent of living space we care about the most, and they're stuck breathing through gills and riding around on sea-ponies.

But in a DC Comics-worthy plot twist, a new study shows that fish have been doing a lot more world-saving than we thought, by way of sequestering carbon to stave off climate change -- which on the danger scale is up there with supervillain plots like blocking out the sun or moving the moon. The catch (har) is that we can't eat all our fish and have them save the world, too.

Read more: Climate & Energy, Food


Obama really wishes he could put a price on carbon

Barack Obama
The White House

President Obama explained his thinking about climate change during a sit-down interview with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman; it will air Monday night during the final episode of Showtime’s climate series “Years of Living Dangerously.” Friedman also shared lots of the good bits in his Times column on Sunday. Here are some highlights:

Obama would love to make polluters pay for their CO2 emissions:

"[I]f there’s one thing I would like to see, it’d be for us to be able to price the cost of carbon emissions. ... We’ve obviously seen resistance from the Republican side of the aisle on that. And out of fairness, there’s some Democrats who’ve been concerned about it as well, because regionally they’re very reliant on heavy industry and old-power plants. ... I still believe, though, that the more we can show the price of inaction — that billions and potentially trillions of dollars are going to be lost because we do not do something about it — ultimately leads us to be able to say, ‘Let’s go ahead and help the marketplace discourage this kind of activity.’"

He knows we can't burn all proven reserves of oil, gas, and coal and still keep warming below 2 degrees C, an internationally agreed-upon target:


The gas is almost greener

Here’s a new way to keep cattle burps from toasting the planet

cattle feed and climate change

Telling cows to eat more slowly and avoid cola won't do much to curb their incessant belching. But the Dutch company DSM has developed a more bovine-appropriate solution for the climate-wrecking problem of cattle gassiness.

Staff scientists and academic researchers funded by the company have developed a powder that can be mixed in with cattle feed, interfering with the microorganisms that produce methane. Newsweek reports:

Read more: Climate & Energy, Food


The five ways to stop climate change. Oh, wait, make that one way

earth chalkboard

Scientists confirm what we already know, but may not want to hear: there’s no magic method to stop climate change. A new study that analyzed the five leading strategies to prevent global warming found that, really, it all comes down to reducing global carbon emissions. The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Ecology in the Environment, ranks the strategies according to factors such as feasibility, risk, and cost. It suggests that, if we want to keep the planet closest to how we know it now, we should focus on No. 1. If, however, all you want is inspiration for your …

Read more: Climate & Energy


Tom Steyer’s latest project will help climate change’s victims

Arizona wildfires 2014
Coconino National Forest

The Climate Disaster Relief Fund won't extinguish the wildfires ravaging America's tinder-dry west, but it may help some of the victims of the fires rebuild their charred lives. And, as the fund grows in the coming years, it should help other victims of global warming.

The new fund was launched Friday with a $2 million donation from billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer and his wife Kat Taylor. It will provide grants to organizations in the U.S. that help people affected by droughts, floods, other severe weather events linked to climate change. (It's totally separate from Steyer's NextGen Climate Action super PAC, which is channeling tens of millions to support climate-friendly candidates in this year's elections.)


How do you like your state cooked?

American Southwest heating faster than rest of nation

Arizona is hot

Stick a fork in the American Southwest. The ranches there are broiled.

Separate analyses published this week both found that the region has heated up more than any other in the U.S. in recent decades as global warming's most prominent effect -- warming -- has taken hold. The first analysis came from Climate Central, which looked at summertime heat:

Read more: Climate & Energy