In today’s On the News segment: Methane emissions in the South Central US are nearly five times higher than previously thought; banks want to charge us for saving money; solar energy is one of the fastest-growing energy sources in our nation, and it’s about to get even cheaper and easier; and more.
Thom Hartmann here – on the news…
You need to know this. Methane emissions in the South Central US are nearly five times higher than previously thought. According to a new study from Harvard University, there is way more methane being pumped into our atmosphere, and that means a much larger effect on climate change. Overall, total US methane emissions are one and half times the EPA estimates, because the agency was using an invalid method for calculating methane in our atmosphere. The EPA used a so-called bottom-up approach, which estimates methane release by guessing what one cow or one natural gas field emits, and then multiplying it by the number of those sources. This new Harvard study measured that amount of methane actually present in our atmosphere, and then traced it back to regional sources. The study’s lead author, Scot Miller, said, “Most strikingly, our results are higher by a factor of 2.7 over the South Central US, which we know is a key region for fossil-fuel extraction and refining.” He explained that they will continue to research the discrepancy between their study and the EPA estimates, so that they can fully understand the impact of fossil-fuel mining on methane emissions. Methane is an extremely potent greenhouse gas, and it is causing a rapid increase in global temperatures. And, many experts believe that it was responsible for the Permian Mass Extinction, which wiped out nearly all life on Earth. Not only do we need to understand how much methane is in our atmosphere and where it comes from, we must work faster to lower these emissions. If we don’t, it could bring about the next mass extinction. The future of our planet, and our species, depends on it. To find out more about the Permian Extinction, and how methane emissions could bring about the next one – go to LastHours.org.
In screwed news… Banks want to charge us for saving money. Most banks already charge customers for the so-called privilege of having a checking account, but now they want to add a few extra fees. According to the Financial Times, the Federal Reserve is considering dialing back the process of quantitative easing. In other words, they want to scale back the $85 billion dollar per month bond buying program, which floods the banking industry with capital at little to no cost. But, the banks won’t give up all that free money easily, and they’re looking to customers to make up for those lost profits. Historically, banks actually paid customers for saving money, as a return for leaving money in the bank, where it could be used to lend and invest. But today, the banksters act like they’re doing us a favor by holding our money, and using it to profit off loans and investments. The only reason this is even being considered is because the too-big-to-fail financial giants can get away with pretty much anything without fear of repercussion. It’s time to break up the banks, and put power back in the hands of banking customers.
In the best of the rest of the news…
Solar energy is one of the fastest-growing energy sources in our nation, and it’s about to get even cheaper and easier. According to a new report by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, more than 99 percent of new electric generation in the month of October came from renewable sources, and solar power is responsible for most of it. In addition, the FERC approved a new rule last week, that will make connecting solar installations cost less and get completed faster. Already, the solar industry employs almost 120,000 Americans, who work for more than 6,000 small businesses around our country. There’s currently 9,400 megawatts of solar capacity throughout our nation – enough to power more than one and a half million American homes. By the end of the year, that number will increase dramatically, even before these new rules have any effect. According to Jon Wellinghoff, the exiting FERC Chairman, “solar is growing so fast, it is going to overtake everything.” This new rule change is only going to speed up that process.
According to RadCast.org, radiation levels are still elevated in most areas of our country, but the Northwest is calm and steady. Near the East coast, Taylors, South Carolina is at 45 counts per minute, with spikes up at 66. Philadelphia is hovering at 45 counts per minute, with spikes at 63. In the Midwest, Warren, Michigan is reporting levels of 45 counts per minute, with spikes at 62, and Frederic, Wisconsin is averaging 48, with spikes at 73 counts per minute. In the Southwest, Taos, New Mexico is all the way up to 85 counts per minute, and Chino Valley, Arizona is sitting at 53, with spikes of 75. The Northwest is calmer, with Seattle, Washington reporting 30 counts per minute, and North Portland, Oregon is at 32. RadCast also says that the EPA is reporting elevated levels of Beta and Gamma radiation, which appear to be coming from Fukushima. RadCast.org reminds us that their alert level is 100 counts per minute, and they’re keep us informed with information that the corporate media simply ignores.
And finally… Every Thanksgiving, the President pardons one lucky turkey, and some governors do the same in their states. This year, however, at least one governor is changing that tradition, by sentencing one turkey to become a meal for the needy. Governor Mark Dayton of Minnsota will be sending his turkey to the St. Paul Salvation Army to bring Thanksgiving to hungry families. And, he inspired the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association to donate enough turkey to feed 12,500 people. Governor Dayton made his choice to highlight Congress cutting food stamps, and he said, “It’s a cruel way to treat [hungry Americans] in the holiday season.” While animal lovers may prefer that the turkeys get pardoned, it’s nice to see an elected leader speaking out these harsh food stamp cuts, and doing something to help hungry families enjoy Thanksgiving.
And that’s the way it is today – Wednesday, November 27, 2013. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.