Global Warming for Dummies — Climate Change for Dummies

Burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas for our energy has increased levels of heat-absorbing gases, especially carbon dioxide, in the atmosphere. So, our planet has warmed over one degree Fahrenheit, and will continue to heat further and faster, as more of these gases build up.* Most climate scientists, including the National Academy of Sciences, agree this is what’s happening, and that something must be done soon to stop the heating, before climate change starts accelerating.

The heat doesn’t sound like much, but a little goes a long way towards changing climate. Scientists predict that our planet could heat up another 6 to 11 degrees by the end of this century, roughly the same DIFFERENCE in temperature that separates our climate from the last ice age, when 300-foot thick ice sheets covered the northern US.

Think of Earth as a big ball, covered with water and air. The sun heats up the water and air, and some heat becomes motion, moving the mix around the ball, just like heating moves water in a pot. The long-term patterns of this heat and these movements are our climate, changing slowly enough over the eons so that most life can adapt to it. But add to this water-air mixture a sudden jolt of heat,* and the planetary water cycle speeds up, something scientists are seeing now. This results in bigger and stronger storms and floods. The extra heat also creates more extreme heat waves, droughts, and melts ice globally, which raises sea levels.  All this is threatening our sources of food, water and shelter, the basics of our survival.

The good news is that we can stop too much harmful climate change if we act fast. We just have to stop emitting global warming gases. We can do this mostly by: a. using energy more efficiently; b. switching from fossil fuels to clean renewable energy — like solar, wind, and geothermal energy; and c. stopping deforestation. We’ve got the technology to do all this, and doing so would create more jobs and improve our economy, as other countries have already shown. So would another important solution: bringing our populations to sustainable levels.

Changing energy sources won’t be easy or cheap politically. But it’s cheaper economically than what we’re doing now. We’ve spent trillions defending foreign oil sources. Furthermore, fossil fuel pollution and mining inflicts heavy damage on human health and our environment.  So, even if climate change wasn’t happening, it pays for us to switch to clean renewable energy anyway.

How do we solve this?  MOVE THE MONEY. Our government must stop supporting fossil fuels and tax breaks for the rich, and start creating tax breaks for clean energy and energy efficiency in the marketplace.  But fossil fuel lobbyists are strong and influential.  So, it’s up to you, the voters, to elect strong leaders who are going to pull the plug on fossil fuels, and promote clean renewable energy and efficiency, as fast as possible.

It’s all about our economy, our future.   

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You can help the planet by making this go viral — please spread it far and wide!

Another way to help? I  started a Clean Energy Voting pledge online, to let Congress know many voters are monitoring their action on climate change. When we can show Congress that a large voting bloc consider this an important voting issue, Congress will act seriously on it. You can pledge here:
http://signon.org/sign/we-are-the-clean-99?source=c.em.cp&r_by=487176
Please help make THIS go viral, too — spread it far and wide! Thanks!

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*SOME BASIC SCIENCE:

for a summary of the science behind climate change that uses the simple analogy of boiling water, see my posting: Climate Change for Dummies: Go Boil Water at the HuffingtonPost

Why do some gases absorb more heat than others?

 All gases can absorb heat, but some absorb more than others. Why? Different gases are made up of molecules of varying complexity. Since the building blocks of molecules are atoms, the more atoms in the molecule, the more complex it is.  More complex molecules can hold, or absorb, more heat than simpler ones, just like larger houses can hold more heat than smaller ones.  So, the more heat-absorbing gases in the atmosphere are ones that have more than 2 atoms (#)  in them – carbon dioxide (3), water vapor (3), methane (4), nitrous oxide (3), and so on. Lucky for life on Earth, there are relatively small amounts of these more complex molecules in the atmosphere.

Large amounts of simpler molecules make up the bulk of our atmosphere:

Nitrogen (2) makes up about 78 percent,

Oxygen (2) makes up about 21 percent

Yeah, that’s right!!  All those bothersome, heat-absorbing, so-called greenhouse gases that are creating climate change make up only about 1 percent of our atmosphere, but boy are they potent, especially in terms of the climate change they can affect when their levels are changed!

Physical and Ecological Feedbacks Mostly Speed Up Global Warming

Relatively little global warming is caused directly from the heat trapped by the gases emitted from burning fossil fuels — it is what comes next that really creates an ultimately unsafe situation. The initial warming creates physical and ecological effects that usually, in turn, speed up global warming and reinforce themselves. These reinforcing processes are known as positive (as in reinforcing) feedbacks. Remember, all an effect needs to do is to cause a further increase in heat absorption or in atmospheric greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane, which, in turn, reinforce that effect, for it to be a positive feedback.

Physical effects include decreasing the ability of the planet’s surface to reflect light and heat. When the warming causes ice to melt, for example, the light surface of ice is replaced by the much darker surface of water and soil, decreasing its reflective ability, or albedo. This new surface will absorb more heat, causing adjacent areas to melt faster. And so, the albedo effect reinforces itself as it adds to global warming by absorbing more heat.

Warming in the Arctic melts frozen methane deposits in the soils, lake beds, and sea beds. Once melted, the methane rises into the atmosphere, significantly adding to the global warming effect that will help melt more methane deposits. There is a huge amount of methane stored in these Arctic deposits.

Ecological feedback effects occur because many ecosystems store carbon, keeping it from becoming greenhouse gases. Huge amounts of carbon are stored soil and in forest trees, for example. As soils warm, soil microbes start releasing the carbon as carbon dioxide. Global warming also results in warmer drier seasons and more extreme droughts. These create longer fire seasons, increasing the frequency and size of wildfires, which release large amounts of carbon in the form of carbon dioxide.

These are just some examples of physical and ecological feedbacks, the overwhelming majority of which are positive feedbacks that result in further warming of the planet and further climate change. There are plenty more.

About that “Sudden” Jolt of Heat

 “Sudden” is a relative term in time, of course.  What’s sudden for the planet can be nonexistent for us, who usually live less than a century.  The planet as a whole usually changes so slowly that to see its changes, we have to look at the history of how it changes geologically (like how mountain ranges form or continents drift) over millions of years, or how it evolves biologically over the same time scale.   Most atmospheric changes on the planet have happened slowly, over thousands of years.  The rate at which we are changing the atmosphere is SO fast on that timescale, however, that it constitutes a veritable explosion. So, jolt is actually a pretty conservative term.

Although the total average increase in temperature is small so far, this constant infusion of extra heat represents an energy inbalance in our planetary system, points out NASA climate scientist Pushker Kharecha.  “No question about it, it’s a lot of energy,” says senior climate scientist Warren Washingtion at the National Center on Atmospheric Research.  Just how much?  250-500 million Megawatts of energy. It’s like having up to half a million EXTRA, large coal burning plants on Earth. Yeah, a half million….

Sources:

1. Cool The Earth, Save the Economy: Solving Climate Change Is EASY , a free, downloadable book available at: www.CoolTheEarth.US . Readable, and comprehensive, with lots more information and detail, accrued from hundreds of reports, peer-reviewed scientific studies, and informative articles, listed in the Bibliography. Published in 2008 by an award-winning environmental scientist and a biologist (that’s me), online only. Although the sections on technological advances are already outdated, the relevancy of the bulk of it is pretty much unchanged. Am still trying to work on an updated edition.

2.  250-500 Million MW of Extra Energy Now Roiling the Earth’s Climate System

Posted: 29 Jul 2011 09:30 AM PDT.  As extreme weather events multiply, scientists are still in the early stages of understanding how more energy is influencing complex weather phenomena.  By Lisa Song, SolveClimate News

3. Wikipedia, Composition of the Atmosphere:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmosphere_of_Earth

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Welcome to the Climate Change Reports Blog

Welcome to my blog.  Here you’ll find the Climate Change Reports — newscasts  being uploaded every weekday for those of you who want to keep updated with developments, both good and bad, related to climate change and global warming.  The reports are basically compressed newscasts about events, studies, reports, and more that are being churned out around the planet about the consequences of and solutions to global warming EVERY DAY, but rarely see the light of day, especially in US broadcast media. If you want to listen to most of them, go to http://cooltheearth.us/climate-report.php which features downloadable podcasts, suitable for rebroadcast on radio. While you’re at that website, check out the free, downloadable book co-authored by an internationally recognized climate change scientist and ecologist, John Harte, and myself, Mel (Mary Ellen) Harte.

Why don’t more people in the US recognize that global warming exists and is creating harmful climate change?  I don’t buy the argument  that it is “because people tune out news they don’t want to hear.”  Nah. US voters are hearing bad news every day — about jobs, the economy and more — and not tuning out, as the Occupy movement shows.

Rather, I think the lack of recognition of global warming is because mainstream US media rarely mention it or connect it to the every day news events that affect our lives — such as the weather and its consequences, or the latest advances happening in clean renewable energy. Did you know, for example, that the first big heatwave in Russia in 2010 was actually part of a giant continental heatwave that extended across Eurasia, from Europe to Japan?  And which of these facts are you more aware of — the failure of a solar company, Solyndra, or that the solar industry is the fastest growing industry in the US today? And when was the last time you heard a TV meteorologist mention global warming in the context of the record-breaking heatwaves, droughts and floods we’ve been having?

Let’s look at a more explicit recent example.  Despite all the coverage of Hurricane Irene, the media, for the most part, once again managed not to say the words “climate change” or “global warming”.  Apparently, these words are the Potterian “Voldemort” of the daily news media when extreme weather is reported. Media hawks are noticing, as the slate of extreme weather events continues to pile up, and the words are rarely spoken.[1]  Amy Goodman herself noted as much on Democracy Now as she introduced Bill McKibben,[2] who advocates averting climate change.

This surreality reminds me of a Jon Stewart segment in which Samantha Bee tried, without saying the word herself, to get Republicans to utter “choice” at a convention a while back.  Similarly, my husband and I play a spectator form of this game with one of the most liberal mainstream broadcast media, National Public Radio. (There is no sport in even attempting this with the lalaland of Fox et al.) In fact,  we think a record of sorts occurred as we listened one warm morning in July 2011 to a slate of NPR headline topics. It started with the huge wildfires burning in the west, then smoothly segued into US heat waves, and finally discussed the plight of polar bears watching their habitat literally melt away. All of these events are intimately tied to climate change, as our free online book explains.[1] Each time, we slyly speculated if we would hear the forbidden words – would we? would we? — but they remained forbidden, even with polar bears. We laughed through tears of hilarious sadness.

How are we going to vote for leaders who will act on slowing global warming, if we aren’t being reminded every day how global warming is intimately tied to our economy and jobs, our health, and our future?  Just remember, folks, that if we don’t roll on this soon, all those other important voter issues will go out the window as things turn catastrophic. It already has been for farmers (and food prices) affected by drought, and people affected by extreme weather, such as heatwaves, floods and hurricanes.

So, I’m hoping US media coverage will improve, but in the meantime, welcome to my blog.  My reports come from items I find, sifting through feeds from:   The Daily Climate,   World Environment News (Reuters),    Inside Climate News,    GreenTech Media,    EnvironmentalResearchNews,  and RSOE EDIS – Climate Change News, among others. And they represent just my personal highlights. I welcome yours.

Mel (Mary Ellen) Harte

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Disappearing Forests in Ghana, Russia, and Canada Burns As It Heats!

KEEPING CARBON STORED: FORESTS UPDATE
Forests: the cheapest way to sequester carbon

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A Canadian wildfire burns away. Credit NWTFire at Facebook

Historic Wildfires Burn Through Canada As Sub-Arctic Forests Heats Upreports Jeff Spross at Climate Progress. Wildfire activity in the Northwest Territories is more than six times higher than its 25-year average, and as of August 23 a total of 162 wildfires were burning in British Columbia.

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If Ghanian forests disappear, so will many of its birds. Source: The World Travel at blogspot

OO Ghana’s Unique Forests ‘Could Completely Disappear Within 25 Years’says study. Ghana is experiencing one of the greatest rates of deforestation in West Africa.

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The fate of this beautiful snail lies in the hands of Lafarge Co, after which it was named. Source: Vermuelen et al 2014 at Mongabay.

Scientists Name New Endangered Species After Company That Will Decide Its Fate reports Tanya Dimitrova at Mongabay. Discovered near a cement quarry in Malaysia, the snail lives on a limestone hill given as a concession to an international company Lafarge, which quarries the hill As a result, the scientists have named the species after the company that will decide if it goes extinct.

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Wikipedia

OO Russia: Far East Logging Damaging Tiger Habitat,
Few Intact Forests Protected (Part I)

OO World’s Last Wild Siberian Tigers Threatened By
Illegal Logging, Global Warming, Disease (PART II)
– 20-30 are poached every year as habitat is reduced and climate change makes life harder for the cat.

OO Rushing To Reforest: Communities, NGOs Work
To Save Rapidly Deforesting Ugandan Reserve

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OO India: Selective Logging Hurts Rainforest Frogs decades after it happens.

OO Forest Conservation: DNA Fingerprinting Trees To Stem Illegal Logging

OO Looming Mining ‘Tsunami’ in Africa Threatens Forests

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When Indonesian forests are destroyed, orangutans die. Credit Mongabay.com

OO 20 Orangutan Pictures For World Orangutan Day

OO Indonesia’s Forests So Damaged They Burn –
Whether Or Not There’s Drought

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Credit Julian Moll-Rocek

@@ VIDEO: How Humans And Nature Can Coexist is explored in this film, documenting how a vast community forest in Guatemala has prospered for centuries even as the human population grows.

OO When Forests Are Not:
the High Cost Of Chile’s Tree Plantations
– which offer few of the ecological services of a forest, eg, water regulation, and store much less carbon. Vast forests have been replaced by plantations.

OO Norway Puts $1.6 Billion Into Rainforest Conservation – with effects being seen.

Join the swelling numbers of voters TELLING Congress they’ll vote for Clean Energy candidates here. This is an ongoing campaign (the next Congressional election is this year!) so please, spread the word. It’s our way of telling Congress that a strong clean energy voting bloc is out there. This is how YOU can make a difference.

For more on Climate Change, check out my weekly column at the HuffingtonPost, Climate Change This Week

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Coal Ash Monster, Bird Decline, Michigan Goes Radioactive, and More!

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North Carolina coal ash pollution, a growing toxic monster. WaterKeeper Alliance Inc at flickr

Weak Laws:

OO North Carolina Lawmakers Pass Weak Coal Ash Bill - claim environmentalists, and set a loose cleanup timetable, as yearly the US produces 140 million tons of toxic coal ash pollution.

Ignorance:

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Sorry, Bill Gates: Clean Energy, Not Fossil Fuels, Will Lower Poverty Far More notes energy analyst Jigar Shah at GreenTechMedia, and freely admits knowing more about energy policy than Gates, but far less about running a software giant. Gates has been getting advice on Bjorn Lomborg, a climate skeptic known for his ignorance on climate change and its effects. Time to switch advisers.

OO UK Public Ignorant Of Climate Science Consensus:Poll and underestimates the public support for clean energy – dangerous ignorance.

Fossil Fuel Follies:

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Wikimedia Commons

OO Keystone Pipeline Company Sidesteps Its Permitting Fight - opting to push more oil through its already established US pipeline, with the State Department’s permission. Ooooh, sneaky!

OO At Least 10% Of Fracking Fluid Is Toxic - For another 33% we have no idea. Important, because there are many thousands US fracking wells, all of which will leak at some point.

OO Michigan Is Becoming A Radioactive Fracking Waste Dump – for other states whose stricter laws prohibit the waste.

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Like a giant fungus, fracking, a generator of small earthquakes in Oklahoma, is spreading its tendrils across the US landscape. Source: Safe Water Movement

OO Oklahoma Gets Hit With 20 Earthquakes In One Day
With 2,500+ small earthquakes in the past five years, nearly all linked to fracking.

OO Maryland: Fracking Threatens The Health and Breathing Of Nearby Residents – says a new report.

OO Duke Energy Spills 5,000 Gallons Of Diesel Into The Ohio River – officials worked to keep the spill from contaminating drinking water supplies.

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As human population rises, it denies birds vital habitat, poisons them with pollution, and burning fossil fuels creates harmful climate change for them: 1 in 8 bird species is threatened with extinction.

Winged Warnings: Birds Are In Trouble Worldwide as rising human population denies them vital habitat, poisons them with pollution, and creates harmful climate change, all warnings for our own species, writes Alanna Mitchell atEnivronmental Health News. First in a series.

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Source: Environmental Health News

RISING RISKS OF CLIMATE CHANGE

Social and Health Threats:

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Credit: Alexander Cahlenstein at Flickr

OO As in Past, Climate Change Could Destroy Current Civilization a new study indicates, finding that ancient climate changes doomed ancient civilizations in its presumed birthplace, the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East.

OO Global Climate Inaction Will Mean Economic Turmoil for South Asia, Warns Bank - cutting South Asia’s growth by 9% by 2100, reports Reuters.

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Climate change allows disease-carrying mosquitoes, like this tiger mosquito, to invade new areas, spreading the disease. Credit James Gathany

6 Ways Climate Change Threatens Health involve basic human needs, says a new study, reports Megan Darby at Responding To Climate Change:

1. Increasing blood suckers and other disease carriers

2. rising allergens and air pollution, which kills 1 in 8 people worldwide, the WHO estimates. Climate change increases wildfires, generating much air pollution.

3. heatstroke

Ggg depression from disasters, Max Boschini at flickr, ccr 240
Disasters generate depression among their victims. Max Boschini at Flickr

4. mental depression

5. malnutrition, as crops fail

6. skin cancer, as ozone levels could increase

Extreme Weather:

Record-Breaking High Daily Minimum US Temps characterize the late summer heat wave more than the maximums, but being minimums, they don’t get the press that the maximums do, writes meteorologist Jon Plotkin at Decoded Science.

Nonetheless, minimums are insidious, in that warmer nights during heat waves rob human bodies of the chance to cool down enough before the next hot day begins. This can trigger more heat strokes.

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As the planet warms, the atmosphere can hold more water, allowing the formation of more clouds. Clouds both absorb and reflect radiation, so their combined effect on climate is complex, but could result in higher daily minimum temperatures.

OO Heat Island Effect & Global Heating Cooking U.S. Cities - threatening health and productivity. Cities form hotspots in the temperature landscape; increased urbanization and global heating will worsen this.

California Dryin’

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Credit: AP photo/Jae C. Hong

OO Drought Dries Up Tap Water For Hundreds Of Californians

OO California Has Given Out Rights To 5x More Water Than It Has – oh-oh.

OO California Drought Has Wild Salmon Competing With Almonds For Water

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OO California’s Drought Is Denying Forage For Honeybees threatening honey production in a major producing state.

OO Epic CA Drought Is Literally Moving Mountains – a measurable 15 mm in the past 2 years, as dramatic water loss doesn’t weigh them down.

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Source: CA Dept of Water Resources

@@ Shocking Photos: What the CA Drought Looks Like

OO Wildfire Burns Near Yosemite National Park, Prompts Evacuation Of Thousands - The wildfire is the third in a year to burn near Yosemite.

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Map of current wildfires in the US as of August 30, 2014. You can keep tracking current US wildfires at this interactive map here at Climate Central.

OO California Is ‘Woefully Unprepared’ For Sea Level Rise says a new report, with a projected 3 feet rise by 2100, and billions in damage to the economy.

Ferocious Consequences:

OO ‘Widespread Methane Leakage’ From 500+ Vents Off East Coast – a previously unknown source of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

OO Arctic Sea Ice Could Shrink Even More as melting ice increases water areas, allowing larger waves that, in turn, help break ice further.

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Source: Climate Central

OO Rising Seas Could Ultimately Bankrupt New York, Miami - even current unfinished plans don’t look beyond the 2050s, when sea level will rise even faster.

OO NY: Long Island Sound Becoming More Acidic

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OO Pakistan’s Largest City Thirsts For A Water Supply - water protests developing.

OO Europe Holiday Destinations Potential Hot Spots For Dengue Fever as climate change allows its spread there.

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Wikipedia

OO How Bad Weather Around The World Is Threatening Nutella

 

Join the swelling numbers of voters TELLING Congress they’ll vote for Clean Energy candidates here. This is an ongoing campaign (the next Congressional election is this year!) so please, spread the word. It’s our way of telling Congress that a strong clean energy voting bloc is out there. This is how YOU can make a difference.

For more on Climate Change, check out my weekly column at the HuffingtonPost, Climate Change This Week

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Big Coal Protest in Europe, Understanding Climate Change, and More!

WHAT WORKS

Speaking out:

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Thousands formed a human chain protesting coal mining across the German-Polish border. Credit: AFP photo/DPA/Patrick Pleul Germany Out

OO 7,500 Form Human Chain
Across German-Poland Border to Protest Coal Mining

OO Washington Post: A Climate For Change:
America Should Not Wait While The World Warms

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General Mills and Kellogg’s are starting to champion action on climate change.

OO Major Food Companies Respond To Consumer Pressure On Climate Change – Kellogg’s and General Mills will join Mars, Unilever and Nestlé in signing BICEP’s Climate Declaration, proving consumers can influence global supply chains

OO Lawmakers, Homeowners Fight Rules Saying Solar Is Too Ugly To Install – what’s wrong with chartreuse?

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OO Pope Francis Petitioned To Drop Fossil Fuel Investments – time to walk the talk, Francis.

OO UK: Advertising Standards Authority Rules Peabody’s ‘Clean Coal’ Ad Misleading – ‘clean coal’ isn’t clean.

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OO PA, USA: Doctors Outraged That Residents
Sickened By Drilling Were Ignored
- calling for an investigation into the responsible health officials.

OO UK: Warmest Record For Jan-July Period Sparks Call For Greater Climate Action

Scientific Insights:

Understanding the Jet Stream: The actual mechanics of jet stream meandering can be compared to adding energy to a metal spring by squeezing it, notes Brian Palmer at Climate Central – when you release it, the spring boings back and forth for awhile, as it tries to restore itself to the original position. Thus, jetstream particles overshoot going south and north as they try to restore to their original position, existing before the energy of global warming was injected into the system.

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OO Jet Stream Changes Driving Extreme Weather Linked Again
To Global Warming, Arctic Ice Loss
a new study says, fueling an increase in recent years of record-smashing extreme weather events and suspected that it’s linked to global warming.

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Wikipedia

Global Heat Was Diverted From Air to the Atlantic -
Will Heat the Air Again in 2020s
says new research, reports Adam Vaughan at the UK Guardian. The diversion of much of the global heat started around 2000, leading some to think that global heating had slowed – no such luck.

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Although global heating got diverted somewhat from the air, it didn’t stop Arctic ice from melting at record rates. Wikipedia

Previous studies indicated that much heat simply got diverted into the Pacific Ocean due to a change in a decades-long weather system. A larger study of ocean temperatures now indicates much was diverted into the Atlantic.

The bad news? The weather system should switch back in 10-20 years. Then watch air temperatures really start to zoom.

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Expect even more extreme heatwaves when the air heats more rapidly in the 2020s.

Related headlines:

OO Unpacking Unpaused Global Warming
– Climate Models Got It Right

OO New Study Provides More Evidence That Global Warming ‘Pause’ Is A Myth

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The European CryoSat-2 satellite collected crucial data showing enormous ice loss.Source: ESA

OO ‘Incredible’ Rate Of Polar Ice Loss Alarms Scientists - An European satellite has shown ice sheets shrinking at 120 cubic miles a year in Antarctica and Greenland.

OO Greenland And West Antarctic Ice Sheet Loss More Than Doubled In Last Five Years
“That is the highest speed observed since altimetry satellite records began about 20 years ago.”

Good ideas:

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The remote US territory of Palau is already looking into the development of homegrown renewable energy. Source: dxing at communication

OO How US Territories Can Kick Their Oil Addiction With Renewables - most have military value and should follow the military lead, which is towards renewables.

OO Revenue-Neutral Carbon Fee and Dividend:
A Potential Win for the Climate

Join the swelling numbers of voters TELLING Congress they’ll vote for Clean Energy candidates here. This is an ongoing campaign (the next Congressional election is this year!) so please, spread the word. It’s our way of telling Congress that a strong clean energy voting bloc is out there. This is how YOU can make a difference.

For more on Climate Change, check out my weekly column at the HuffingtonPost, Climate Change This Week

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Breathing Easier, Verizon’s Solar Investment, and More!

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OO Verizon Announces $40 Million Solar Energy Investment

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Check it out here, right now!

GOOD CLEAN NEWS

OO Cutting Carbon Pollution: Health Savings Outweigh Costs says yet another study.

OO Thanks To The Clean Air Act,
We Breathe 3 Million Fewer Tons Of Toxins Each Year

OO Major Court Ruling Clears The Way To Let Renewables Into The Grid

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Large fossil fuel buring power plants may be headed towards extinction as distributed clean energy prices continue to drop, says a new economic analysis. Wikipedia

UBS Analysts: ‘Large-Scale Power Stations Could Be on a Path to Extinction’ reports Giles Parkinson at GreenTechMedia. Leading investment bank UBS says the payback time for unsubsidized investment in electric vehicles paired with rooftop solar and battery storage will be as low as six to eight years by 2020, potentially triggering a massive shift in the energy industry.

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Pairing rooftop solar with battery storage is key, says the UBS analysis.

“It’s time to join the revolution,” UBS wrote in a note to clients, a pointed rejoinder to those governments and corporates that believe centralized fossil-fuel generation will continue dominate for decades to come.

By 2030, according to UBS analysts, this combination will deliver a payback time of around three years. Right now, the payback is probably around twelve years, enough to encourage the interest of early adopters.

OO Soon, Europe Might Not Need Any New Power Plants

OO Amory Lovins: As Economists Argue, Renewables Keep Getting Cheaper – says the reputable energy expert and founder of the Rocky Mountain Institute.

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OO Africa Will Add More Renewable Energy In 2014
Than In The Last 14 Years Combined as renewables get cheaper, Africa takes advantage.

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OO South Africa, Kenya And Ethiopia Lead Africa Clean Energy Drive

OO Architects From 124 Countries Make ‘Zero-Carbon Cities’ Pledge

OO China’s ‘War On Pollution’ Sees Coal Drop For First Time In Century

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Chinese have been bicycling to work for decades, so it’s no surprise they lead the world in bike sharing. Wikipedia

China Races Ahead Of The Pack As Bike Sharing Goes Viral reports Flavia Krause-Jackson at Bloomberg News. By putting millions of cyclists on the road, bike-sharing is reshaping the design of cities by connecting mass transit, removing cars from centers and creating new infrastructure. Hangzhou and Wuhan in China are the global leaders; India’s megacities are struggling to take off, and the U.S. is playing catch-up.

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Good Trends in Funding Clean Technology writes Rob Day at GreenTechMedia. There are lots of success stories, and this is expected: as prices fall for upstream technologies in subsectors like solar, LEDs, batteries — and especially when they are increasingly married to IT-based capabilities around networked intelligence — the value propositions are made very attractive to end consumers.

Financing mechanism are becoming more innovative and family and corporate investors increasingly attracted to clean technology and energy. Finally, entrepreneurs are adapting to what venture capitalists want: things that can be marketed quickly, cheaply.

OO Show Me The Money: How Sustainability Creates Revenue At Bloomberg – New product opportunities result from making sustainability ‘quantitative, consumable and actionable.’

Join the swelling numbers of voters TELLING Congress they’ll vote for Clean Energy candidates here. This is an ongoing campaign (the next Congressional election is this year!) so please, spread the word. It’s our way of telling Congress that a strong clean energy voting bloc is out there. This is how YOU can make a difference.

For more on Climate Change, check out my weekly column at the HuffingtonPost, Climate Change This Week

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Disappearing Forests in Indonesia, Russia, and More!

KEEPING CARBON STORED: FORESTS UPDATE

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When Indonesia clears forests, orangutans die.

OO Indonesia Plans To Clear Over 28 Million Acres
Of Carbon-Storing Forest By 2020 despite a commitment to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

OO Forest-Destroying Illegal Oil Palm Plantations Rampant In Indonesia- and were built by destroying carbon-storing forests. Half of the ones in one province’s rare forest are illegal.

OO Indonesia Cracks Down On Illegal Burning, Investigates Suspect Companies

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‘Green’ timber companies may be depriving the threatened Siberian tiger of habitat.Wikipedia

OO Are Eco-Certified Timber Companies Stripping Russia Of Its Last Old Growth Forests?

OO China And Europe’s Outsourcing Of Soy Production Impacts The Amazon says a new study.

OO Nicaragua ‘Natural Reserves’ No More:
Illegal Colonists Deforest Huge Portions

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OO Peru’s Most Important Forests Felled For Timber, Crops, Roads, Mining – the highly threatened Peruvian Andes mountain range are an immediate and looming portent of the fate of the Peruvian Amazon rainforest.
OO China Failing To Take Effective Action Against
Chinese Timber Smuggling Companies

Join the swelling numbers of voters TELLING Congress they’ll vote for Clean Energy candidates here. This is an ongoing campaign (the next Congressional election is this year!) so please, spread the word. It’s our way of telling Congress that a strong clean energy voting bloc is out there. This is how YOU can make a difference.

For more on Climate Change, check out my weekly column at the HuffingtonPost, Climate Change This Week

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Climate Risks: the Hottest Global July, CA Drought Worsens, and More!

RISING RISKS OF CLIMATE CHANGE

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Weather Around a Climate Change World: August 19, 2014: Nepal and India are experiencing killer landslides related to the extreme Asian monsoon; Europe’s cooling down; and there’s a heat wave in the US heartland, reports meteorologist Jon Plotkin at Decoded Science.

And the Heat Goes On:

OO Globally, July Was The Fourth Hottest July On Record says NOAA, and the January-July period was the third-warmest such period on record. You might have felt cool; much of the world did not.

California Dryin’ :

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Someone told me that she was so depressed driving through the Central Valley recently, filled with signs and dried out land, that she took an early exit to get away from it. Source: bakersfieldcalifornian.com

OO On Top Of Withering Drought, California Smashes Heat Records
For the first half of 2014, California has been on average 4.6 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than normal, and 1 degree warmer than the previous record set in 1934.

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California continues to dry out. Source: US Drought Monitor

OO California Has Hottest Start to Year While Midwest Chills - as CA record-breaking heat helped drought and wildfires.

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Source: NOAA

US: Lots and Lots of Rain – boy, did it rain a lot recently, reports Andrea Thompson at Climate Central. Torrential rains fell from Seattle to Long Island, flooding not only highways, houses and parking lots, but also Twitter with images of cars covered nearly up to their roofs and stranded drivers.

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OO Long Island NY Town Gets 12 Inches+ Of Rain
During East Coast Downpours
sending emergency boats and police scuba teams to flooded roads — something that could happen more frequently with more severe downpours as the planet warms up.

OO Colorado Rockies: Climate Change Means an Uncertain Water Supplysays a new report.

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Alaska: Marine Economy Takes A Dive As Ocean Acidity Rises says a new study reports Kieran Cooke at Climate Central. The new study, funded by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration(NOAA), says growing acidification of Alaska’s waters, particularly those off the southern coast, threatens the state’s whole economy.

OO Mega Drought Threatens To Drive Up Olive Oil Prices – southwest Spain is experiencing its worst drought since record keeping began 150 years ago — and agricultural crops, especially olives, are suffering badly.

Losing Homes:

OO Solomon Islands Town To Relocate As Climate Pressures Mount

Join the swelling numbers of voters TELLING Congress they’ll vote for Clean Energy candidates here. This is an ongoing campaign (the next Congressional election is this year!) so please, spread the word. It’s our way of telling Congress that a strong clean energy voting bloc is out there. This is how YOU can make a difference.

For more on Climate Change, check out my weekly column at the HuffingtonPost, Climate Change This Week

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US Lags Behind World in Clean Energy, the Big Oil Gamble, and More!

WHAT DOESN’T WORK

Fossil Fuel Follies:

Big Oil Is Gambling $91 Billion On 20 High-Risk Projects says a new report,writes Magan Darby at Responding to Climate Change. Tar sands and deep sea oil projects are bad for business as well as the environment, analysts warn. If the major oil companies cancelled these and other risky plans they could return US$357 billion to shareholders by 2025, the study found.

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Is investing in this mess really a good idea? Source: Responding to Climate Change

“Investors are concerned about the levels of capital being sunk into future fields by the oil sector, but are not getting answers on the economics of the projects from the companies,” said James Leaton of Carbon Tracker Initiative, which produced the study.

OO Mexico Opens Oil Fields – so it, too, can be a merchant of climate change.

Flawed technology:

OO Birds Bursting Into Flame Above Solar Mirror Farm

Clueless Leadership:

OO House Republicans Push for End of Wind Tax Credit

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Credit Mary Ellen Harte

We could have more US made turbines creating US clean power if Congress supplied continuous support.

OO More U.S.-Made Wind Turbines Are Being Sold Overseas
As Congress Fails To Support Wind Power
– as inconsistent govt support discourages US sales.

OO GOP Rep. Mike Coffman: We Should Limit Carbon Emissions
– But He Voted For Emissions

Muzzling Scientists:

OO Science, Journalism Groups Accuse EPA Of Muzzling Its Scientists – not a good thing for the Environmental Protection Agency, the govt agency most focused on protecting US environment.

Being Outcompeted:

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OO Former President Jimmy Carter Says U.S. Lags Behind World in Renewables – and China outcompeted the US in solar power in 2013; see above.

OO Australia Slaps Businesses With $500 Fee Designed To Kill Solar Power- giving businesses ino monetary incentive to lower their electricity consumption by installing solar panels, industry says.

Join the swelling numbers of voters TELLING Congress they’ll vote for Clean Energy candidates here. This is an ongoing campaign (the next Congressional election is this year!) so please, spread the word. It’s our way of telling Congress that a strong clean energy voting bloc is out there. This is how YOU can make a difference.

For more on Climate Change, check out my weekly column at the HuffingtonPost, Climate Change This Week

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