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:
Please help make THIS go viral, too — spread it far and wide! Thanks!

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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….


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:

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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 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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Forests Update: The Tarring of Canadian Forests, and More!

Forests: the cheapest way to sequester carbon


This used to be a Canadian forest. Now it’s a toxic wasteland from tar sand extraction.Via RTCC

OO More Tar Sands Trouble:
Oil Extraction Leading To Big Forest Loss In Alberta, Canada

OO Brazil: Govt Busts Major Illegal Loggers’ Gang

OO Saving The Atlantic Forest Would Cost Less
Than Making ‘Titanic’ Movie

and the payback would be far greater, if private landowners were paid to protect this forest.

When Indonesian forests are destroyed, orangutans die. Source: Mongabay

Indonesia: Poverty Drives Illegal Logging in Sumatra reports Robert Eshelman at Mongabay. ‘I make six times the money I’d make working legally’says an illegal logger. Lack of government support for even modest help in village farming projects drives villagers to make money illegally. The country and the world loses.

OO Map: Siting New Roads to Save Forests, Wildlife

OO How Do We Save The World’s Vanishing Old-Growth Forests? Make their conservation a national priority worldwide.


A selfie taken by a Sulawesi Crested Macaque. Deforestation threatens its home, and that of many species still undiscovered there.

OO Life We May Never Know:
Deforestation Threatens Sulawesi’s Unique, Unknown Wildlife

There is, of course, much more news on the consequences and solutions to climate change. To get it, check out this annotated resource list I’ve compiled, “Climate Change News Resources,” , at here. For more information on the science of climate change, its consequences and solutions you can view my annotated list of online information resources here.

To help you understand just what science does and does NOT do, check thisout!

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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Fracking Threatens Babies, Further Climate Change, and More!

Fossil Fuel Follies:

Credit Peter Essick

World’s Fossil Fueled Plants Are Increasing, Locking in More Emissions, Climate Change says a new study, reports Jeff Spross at Climate Progress.

Such plants are being built faster than they are being retired, which is guaranteeing an increase in global carbon emissions, exactly the opposite of what needs to be done to avoid ever more catastrophic climate change for humanity.


Credit Kleineolive at Wikimedia.

Building these plants is an act of economic lunacy: the pollution will continue to eat away at economic development if they function, or current investments will be worthless if they are replaced by clean energy, needed if human civilization is to continue to thrive.

OO New Coal Power Stations Threat To EU’s Emissions Target – burning Europe’s reserves of lignite would wipe out the EU’s entire carbon budget from 2020 until the end of the century, says Greenpeace.

Credit Ajsmen91 at Wikimedia Commons

OO Potential Health Risks for Babies Born Near Fracking say initial studies.

OO Pennsylvania: Fracking Has Contaminated Drinking Water 100s of Times

OO US State Dept Underestimates Carbon Pollution From Keystone XL


Oil is being delivered faster than perishable food crops to human communities.

OO Food Crops Pushed Aside As Oil Trains Sail Through and the delays are hitting farmers – and food companies – in the pocketbook, hard.

Denying Reality:

OO Climate Sceptic Says Australia’s Record Breaking Heat Is Fabricated Conspiracy as he accuses the Bureau of Meteorology of falsifying the data — the road of denial takes yet another bizarre turn.



Summer Recap of Hot, Cold, and Rainy Extremes
Consistent With Global Heating
, notes meteorologist Jon Plotkin at Decoded Science, as he ticks off various new weather records around the US. A recent heat wave promised a very warm start to the fall in the US and Europe.

OO NOAA Lists 20 Coral Species As Threatened From Climate Change, fishing and pollution.

Pests Pose Increasing Risk to Food Security says a new study, reports Tim Radford at Climate Central, as climate change and human transmission continue to ease the spread of pests from their points of origin to possible host countries.

Source: CIAT/flickr

Few countries now host most of the pests that could possibly thrive in them, but the spread of pests, over 2,000 of them, is accelerating, and that will mean further damage to crops increasingly stressed by increasingly extreme weather under continuing climate change.

Ferocious Feedbacks:

Credit: Steve Dunleavy at flickr

California: Mountain Forest Changes Threaten Water Supplies says a new study, reports John Upton at Climate Central, as changing temperature gradients are “dragging” water-hogging forests uphill. This could reduce state water supplies up to 25% by 2100.

California Dryin':

OO Drought-Stricken California Moves To Regulate Underground Water
— For First Time Ever

OO Battle Wages for California’s Groundwater Rights – as neighboring farmers sue each other, and a bill regulating it looms.


Well before it became crowded with people., the west has seen megadroughts spanning 30 to 100 years long in the past 1000 years. Current climate change increases the chances of the current drought turning into one.

OO Climate Change Ups Odds of a Southwest Megadrought

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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Fighting Climate Change: Why Clean Energy Helps Poor Nations, and More!


Renewable Energy Capacity Grew At Fastest Pace Ever In 2013 reports Jeff Spross at Climate Progress. The International Energy Agency said renewables now produce 22 % of the world’s electricity, likely rising to 26 % by 2020 — though this pace won’t ultimately meet international climate targets.

OO Chile Is Poised To Pass South America’s First Carbon Tax

OO Grid Perfection, Not Defection: the Evolving US Microgrid Landscape


Speaking Out:


Why Clean Energy Bests Fossil Fuels To Power Poorer Economies, arguesenergy policy expert Carl Pope at GreenTechMedia, is rooted in the reality of those economies:

1.creating the grid to hook up most customers to fossil fuel power is far more expensive than distributed clean energy (solar and wind),

2. fossil fuel pollution is an economic drain,


3. fossil fuels use much more increasingly scarce water, and

4. clean energy is now just as cheap as fossil fuels – even more so when you factor in health benefits.

OO ‘Urgency of Climate Change’ to Debut as Legal Defense

OO Gubernatorial Candidate Connects Pipeline To Climate Change

OO US Govt Estimate of High Social Cost of Carbon Is Accurate says a new Government Accountability Office report.

OO United Nations Predicts Climate Hell In 2050
With Imagined Weather Forecasts
‘Reports from the future’ warn of floods, storms and searing heat in campaign for climate change summit

You Can Act:


Bus or Train to People’s Climate March, New York City, Sept. 20-21 – Multiple organizations have come together to organize the People’s Climate March in New York City, September 20-21. Buses and trains to New York City are available. For more details, go here.

#B4UMarch Campaign – Call Congress Sept. 15-19 -Whether you march or not, it is critical that Congress hear from Americans that we support climate action.

Using the hash tag, #B4UMarch, take a few minutes to call your state’s Congress people at their Washington, DC offices before the People’s Climate March. Get the Washington, DC contact information for your state’s Congressional representatives and Senators here.

Scientific Insights:

In just 5 years, satellite maps that measure topographic height very accurately show that the melting of Greenlandic ice has doubled; for West Antarctica, it has tripled, says an author of a new study.

OO New Satellite Maps Show Polar Ice Caps Melting At ‘Unprecedented Rate’

Good Ideas:

Cut Carbon, Breathe Easier, Live Longer says a new MIT study, reports Brian Palmer at Climate Central. The effect of fossil fuel pollution is so economically disastrous to human health, cutting carbon emissions through a cap and trade policy would produce a 10x economic payback – for every $100 invested, the US would see a $1000 return. And that’s just the payback for cutting pollution.

The payback will be far larger, in terms of slowing climate change…such a deal! Tell your Congress people how much you want this!

OO How to Encourage Home Energy Savings – segue it with owners’ highest priorities: security, and economy ; it’s not that hard to do.

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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Let the Sun Shine: CA ushers in more solar, and More!


OO California: New Bill Could Make Residential Solar In California A Lot Cheaper
Solar customers could save up to $1,000 if the new bill is signed into law.

OO Texas: Austin Mandates 800 MW of New Solar Power by 2020

OO Hawaii’s Largest Utility Announces Plan To Triple Rooftop Solar By 2030


Check it out here, right now!

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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Switch to Clean Energy ASAP

What’s the rush on renewable clean energy? It’s connect-the-dots time!

Here’s my graphic line of connecting dots:


1. Almost all scientists (97%) and businesses agree: our fossil fuel pollution is warming the Earth, which is making our climate more extreme – hotter, colder, wetter, drier. Check out the latest IPCC reports. Insurance companies, major banks, and other major businesses agree.


2. Fossil fuel pollution is increasing yearly, damaging our economies by increasinghealth costs, crop and environmental damage, driving rising sealevels, and fueling further climate change with ever worsening catastrophic weather – thinkmegadroughts, for example.


3. It will get worse — much worse, because of ferocious feedbacks, such as:

The angle of sunlight, combined with reflection from white polar ice, helps keep the poles cold, and the planet cooler. (Image, NASA)

a. the albedo effect: darker waters replacing melting white ice (eg, Arctic ice cap, a large planetary heat shield) will absorb far more heat, feeding global heating;



The accelerating release of a very potent greenhouse gas, methane, from melting giant reserves in the tundra and undersea, has been called the methane bomb, because it could explosively increase global heating.

b. release of more greenhouse gases from gigantic reserves in the tundra, undersea methane deposits, and soils worldwide, as global heating warms them.



4. Renewable clean energy (especially solar and wind) is as cheap as fossil fueled energy in some US areas, getting cheaper, is spreading, and is becoming a mainstream power source for US consumers — but not fast enough.

5. The US clean energy sector is the fastest growing economic and job sector of our economy.


6. Technology and financing mechanisms continue to make clean energy more affordable.

7. Energy storage technology now makes clean energy as reliable as fossil fuels – we can make a massive switch to clean energy now.


8. Delay has already cost the world trillions. Further delays will be costlier, as extreme weather costs skyrocket.



9. The major roadblock are political leaders who do not support clean energy.




a. Urge Congress to Support Clean Energy Victory Bonds Bill – contact your representatives.


b. VOTE FOR CLEAN ENERGY LEADERS this November and in all future elections – make clean energy a top voting priority, and urge friends and family to do the same.

c. Speak out: join the worldwide CLIMATE MARCH September 21, 2014 – within the US, in New York, and elsewhere. Go here to learn more.

Economic prosperity, good jobs, cheap energy, and health can replace pollution, environmental destruction, extreme weather, rising gas prices, and economic disasters if we divest from fossil fuels and switch to clean energy ASAP. It’s like, DUH!


First published at the huffingtonpost.

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 Ghana, Russia, and Canada Burns As It Heats!

Forests: the cheapest way to sequester carbon

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.

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.

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.


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


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

When Indonesian forests are destroyed, orangutans die. Credit

OO 20 Orangutan Pictures For World Orangutan Day

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

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!

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.



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:


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.

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.

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.

Source: Environmental Health News


Social and Health Threats:


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.


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.

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’

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


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.

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.

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.


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


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.



OO How Bad Weather Around The World Is Threatening Nutella


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

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