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. Here’s a great summary, that also includes another side effect, ocean acidification, resulting from increased absorption of carbon dioxide. 

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.

The biggest way we can cut emissions is by creating sustainable human populations humanely – recognizing that we need to make responsible reproductive choices. Consider having one child (the personal choice I’ve made) or a child-free life.  Without doing this, none of the other solutions will really work: our growing populations fuel energy demand and strain resources needed for the other solution avenues.

Those other solution avenues are:

  • using energy more efficiently;
  • switching from fossil fuels to clean renewable energy — like solar, wind, and geothermal energy;
  • stopping deforestation
  • divesting from fossil fuels

We can do all this, and doing so would create more jobs and improve our economy, as other countries have already shown.

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 inflict 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. DITV – Divest, Invest, Talk about it, and Vote.

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 considers this an important 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 lighter 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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Climate Change This Week: Cool Landscapes, Hot Futures, and More!

Today, the Earth got a little hotter, and a little more crowded.

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The Bear Cub Club meets in the Tongass National Forest, which, with the Great Bear Rainforest is part of the Pacific temperate rainforest, the largest such ecosystem in existence. Source fluffyfeet at pinterest.

OO Canada: Most of Great Bear Rainforest Is Now Permanently Closed to Logging

Forests: the cheapest way to store carbon

OO Another Reason to Save Forests: Adorable Biodiversity – as this rare footage shows of two young primates, Fio, an orangutan, and Chili, a gibbon, playing away in the peat swamp trees of Borneo. Chilli launches surprise tickle attacks on Fio.

When we harm forests, we harm ourselves.

OO Still a Climate Denier?
Recent Record Temperatures ‘Extremely Unlikely’
Without Global Warming
say new analyses.

Related Headline:

OO Global Warming In 2015 Made Weather More Extreme
And It’s Likely To Get Worse

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@@ Climate Change 101: Why Care?
What You Need to Know
– Bill Nye tells it all in five minutes amid graphic, dynamic, engaging, compelling imagery. Check it Out!

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GOOD CLEAN NEWS

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A Clean ‘Hood: Encouraging walking and public transit help keep the neighborhood free of pollution, and cuts climate changing emissions. Credit Alex MacLean

@@ An Energy Efficient Carbon Landscape – Europe manages a high standard of living using less than 50% of the US emissions per person. It’s tied to the landscape, this photo essay shows, through:

  • dense urban centers with an emphasis on pedestrian and bike accessibility;
  • compact rural and suburban communities with sharp growth boundaries;
  • connectivity between public transport and human-powered transportation;
  • integration of commercial and retail space into the fabric of residential areas;
  • a dearth of sprawl.

How we organize ourselves on the ground is the key factor determining how much fossil fuel we burn,” photographer Alex MacLean says.

Related Headlines:

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Preserving Life: An overlooked tool in fighting climate change is enhancing biodiversity to maximize the ability of ecosystems to store carbon. Key to that is preserving top predators to control populations of herbivores, whose grazing reduces the amount of CO2 that ecosystems absorb.

OO How Preserving Biodiversity Can Help Slow Global Warming

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OO Where Have All The Animals Gone? “witty, humorous… gut wrenching” chronicle of how humans are driving the disappearance of animals – in this case, through Asia and Africa.

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OO How to Finance a Trillion-Dollar Climate Change Opportunity – The good news is: we can! Major financial analysts find there is enough money at play in the world’s financial markets to finance the transition.

But policymakers in every country will need to “mind the gap” of over $200 billion annually for the electric power sector that needs to be mobilized to help assure it happens in time.

OO Switch To Clean Energy Can Be Fast And Cheap – Strategically placing solar and wind farms across the U.S. could compensate for power lulls during cloudy or calm days.

OO Going Green Can Add Value To Your Home – especially in the Washington DC area, says a new study conducted by national appraisal experts: energy improvements and resource-conserving efforts can be worth tens of thousands of dollars.

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OO Global Investment in Renewable Energy
Now Outstrips That In Fossil Fuels
The tide is turning… let’s speed it up! Vote for Renewable Energy!

OO U.S. Economic Growth Free From Both Energy And Electricity Use – In a stunning trend with broad implications, the U.S. economy has grown significantly since 2007, while electricity consumption has been flat, and total energy demand actually dropped.

OO West Coast States Could Cut Petroleum Consumption in Half by 2030says a new study, through policies that encourage greater transportation options and the more robust use of existing and emerging low-carbon technologies, and they are already on the way.

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OO US Wind Industry Sees Its Second-Best Quarter Ever in late 2015 – as 2015 saw a 77% growth in wind power over 2014.

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CLIMATE LEADERSHIP

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Yo, Frackers – Feel the Bern?

OO Bernie Sanders’s Radical Proposal:
Ban Hydraulic Fracturing
– period.

OO Obama Officials Rush To Curb Methane On Public Lands

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Copenhagen’s mayor has announced plans to divest the city’s $1+ billion investment fund of all holdings in coal, oil and gas.

OO Copenhagen Set To Divest From Fossil Fuels

OO India: Government Aid Helps Carmakers Go Green And Cheap To Fight Smog with incentives for fuel-efficient vehicles.

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CLUELESS LEADERSHIP

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Credit Joel Pett at USA Today

OO Republicans Reject Climate Change Fears
Despite Rebukes From Scientists, Voters
– Ted Cruz has presented ‘misleading’ information in the Senate, scientists say, while Marco Rubio rejects ‘destroying our economy’ – despite pleas for action coming from officials in his own state.

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GOOD IDEAS

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Tiger, Tiger endangered throughout most of its range, now barely holds onto a graph showing the disappearance of its habitat, forests, over time, in this piece by Jill Pelto. Credit Jill Pelto www.jillpelto.com

OO These Paintings Turn Climate Data Into Art – incorporating data charts into artscapes: Meet Jill Pelto.

OO Better Power Lines Would Help US Supercharge Renewable Energy study suggests. The U.S. could, in theory, use new high-voltage power lines to eliminate the need to add new storage capacity.

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Let’s Make a Clean Energy Highway in the Sky! Credit Dennis Schroeder NREL

OO Grid For Renewables Key To Cutting Emissions – carbon dioxide emissions from generating electricity could be cut by nearly 80% by 2030 if the US makes the same Herculean effort to expand solar and wind technology that it did to build the Interstate Highway System.

OO Companies Need To Fix Environmental ‘Blind Spot’ In Supply ChainsMany multinationals have a blind spot in judging the environmental impact of their suppliers’ operations, adding to corporate risks linked to climate change, says a new study.

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NATURAL REPERCUSSIONS

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Climate Change Threatens A Delicious, Blue-Eyed Wonder – scallops, which are declining in the eastern US, as warming waters are linked to the die-off of their seagrass homes, and overfishing occurs. They are a delicious seafood to many.

OO Warming Waters Linked To Northeast Seagrass Die-Offs indicates a new analysis of two decades of summertime monitoring in Buzzards Bay.

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Five Months Early – red campion and a host of others were blooming away in the UK on New Year’s Day. Credit Rote Lichtnelke at wikimedia

OO Monumental Floral MisMatch:
600+ Kinds of British Wildflowers Bloomed Early,
New Year’s Day 2016
– a major survey shows, after a record warm December, far more than ever recorded before. It may sound pretty, but the fate that awaits them isn’t: lack of bees and returning cold means they are unlikely to create surviving seed. Having expended that flowering energy now, they are less likely to bloom later in spring and summer, when they could produce surviving seed.

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Too White Too Late – the white hare is an advertisement for a raptor against a dark melting landscape. Source http://www.mpgnorth.com

OO Climate Change May Be Deadly For Winter Camouflage Animals: Snowshoe Hares – as precipitation replaces snow earlier in spring and later in winter under warmer scenarios, leaving seasonally camouflaged animals out of step, and visually exposed to predators.

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Baby Bunnies Exposed from their insulating snow burrow can become too cold.
Source whortgrassgreenhouse.worpress.com

OO As Climate Changes Snow,
Animals Suffer
– snowpack is a refuge for many winter animals. It:

  • insulates against extreme cold,
  • keeps temperatures stable,
  • keeps the ground beneath unfrozen.

Without snowpack, unstable conditions can make life harder for animals. For example, exposed winter ground:

  • will freeze, preventing active rodents from foraging for food
  • will freeze and thaw more often, forcing hibernating frogs and insects to use precious energy to re-adapt to each condition; subsequent survival and reproduction may decrease.

And there may be more damaging effects to winter animals.

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SOCIAL REPERCUSSIONS

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Credit http://www.chrismadden.co.uk

OO Ocean Warming Is Making Floods Worse -a new study blames expansion of warming waters for as much sea level rise from 2002 through 2014 as the melting of all the glaciers and the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets combined.

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Ready to Drop – after another good storm, these houses might be found on the beach – deconstructed. Source http://www.theglobeandmail.com

OO Pacifica, CA: State Of Emergency Over Storm Damage worsened by created by a strong El Nino further fueled by climate change.

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As temperatures rise, so do damages from wildfires. Credit Jill Pelto, http://www.jillpelto.com

OO Insurance Debate Flares As Climate Change Boosts Wildfire Risk – with 2 deadly wildfires that ravaged Northern California last fall caused an estimated $1 billion in damages, state insurance regulators said.

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OO Soil Productivity Cut By Climate Change,
Making Societies More Marginal
say new studies: The health of the world’s soils hinges on the microbes and fungi they contain; environmental changes will undermine their ability to support humans and other species.

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Think About What She’ll Face – and her grandkids, if we fail to dramatically slow climate change. Big bad changes are underway.

OO ‘If The World Ends In 2100, We’re Probably OK.’ Are you okay with that?

Beyond that, there will be much bigger changes, which will affect the young child you have now, and her/his grandchildren.

Scientists see parallels between global warming today and mass extinctions in Earth’s past: “most mass extinctions were CO2-driven global warming things ” says paleo and present climate scientist Andy Ridgwell of Bristol University.

“If you screw with the climate enough, you have huge extinctions,” he adds. Our civilization is likely to be one of them.

OO Climate Change Could Worsen Diseases Like Zika Virus experts say, allowing carrier mosquitoes to spread to new areas.

Related Headline:

OO What You Need To Know About Zika And Climate Change – chief among the number of factors behind the quick and wide spread of the Zika virus — a disease that’s been associated with birth defects — is heavy rain and heat, both helped by climate change.

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One of Millions Homeless -The number of climate change refugees in Bangladesh is expected to increase dramatically in the coming decades. Credit Probal Rashid

OO Effects of climate change in Bangladesh: Haunting Photos

OO Ethiopia Seeks Donor Support To Meet Drought Needs as 10+ million people are critically short of food.

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FOSSIL FUEL FOLLIES

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OO Big Banks Brace for Oil Loans to Implode as dozens of oil companies have gone bankrupt, and the ones that haven’t are feeling enough financial stress to slash spending and cut tens of thousands of jobs.

OO Australian Coalmines Are One Of Riskiest Investments In The Worldbecause of their exposure to environmental dangers, says a new report from Oxford University.

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OO California Gas Leak Spotlights Shoddy Regulation Of Aging Storage Wells that existed long before a natural gas storage well sprung a disastrous leak near Los Angeles. Utilities and national industry groups were raising alarms about the danger of aging underground storage infrastructure even then.

OO Negligence Led To Massive Porter Ranch-Area Gas Leak says the govt agency that regulates Southern California’s air quality sued Southern California Gas Co., accusing the company of negligence that has forced thousands to leave their homes.

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Credit David Pope

OO Australian Emissions Rising Towards Historical Highs –
Will Not Peak Before 2030
based on current trends, with the projected growth rate one of the worst in the developed world, a new analysis says.

OO Norway: Industry Plans To Up Fossil Fuel Production Despite Paris Pledge – Norway wants other countries to leave their coal and oil in the ground to meet new global climate change targets instead. Gee, thanks guys!

OO In Coal-Powered China, Electric Car Surge Fuels Fear Of Worsening Smog – as the switch to electric cars outpaces a switch to cleaner energy.

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If we do not grow sustainably,
Our children will die inhumanely.

@@ The Cost of Unintended Pregnancy: Too Young

Teen childbearing cost US taxpayers $9+ Billion in 2010
And the costs of raising a child usually ensures decades, if not a life, of poverty for its mother.
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Help prevent unintended pregnancies in your community:
publicize where women can access affordable contraception.

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They can go here to find locations:

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And there are many more actions you can do, right here.

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SOLAR KEEPS FLYING

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OO Costs of Solor Photo Voltaics Decreased 10% per Year Since 1980 – shows a new study.

OO As Regulators Create New Compensation Rules,
Expect California Solar Spread To Surge

@@ VIDEO: Japan’s Solution To Its Energy And Space Crisis:
The World’s Largest Floating Solar Power Plant – a company has work on what they say will be the world’s largest floating solar installation by the amount of power produced.

Related Headline:

OO Japan Begins Work On ‘World’s Largest’ Floating Solar Farm

OO Green Energy Boom Helps Chile Contain Surging Power Prices – Chile’s solar industry is proving a win win: cutting global warming CO2 emissions and helping slash some of the highest electricity costs in Latin America.

OO Rwanda, Africa: Company Will Bring Solar to 250,000 Homes by 2018 as the country preps for millions of solar residential projects in coming years.

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OO China Has the Most Solar PV Installed Globally with 43 GW of solar photovoltaic capacity.

OO Australia Taking Solar Power to the Next Level – Mostly put up in the past 10 years, residential solar panels have made Australia the country with the world’s largest household uptake of solar panels. Almost 1.5 million homes are solar, creating the highest worldwide national average of 16%; the giant state of Queensland has the highest average, almost 30%.

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Check it out here, right now!

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WHY WE SHOULD ACT NOW: RISING RISKS

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Daily Climate Change: Global Map of Unusual Temperatures, Feb 8, 2016

How unusual has the weather been? No one event is “caused” by climate change, but global warming, which is predicted to increase unusual, extreme weather, is having a daily effect on weather, worldwide.

Looking above at recent temperature anomalies, much of the US and the waters surrounding it are experiencing warmer than normal temperatures: recent El Nino driven rains have barely changed long term water supplies, making further drought inevitable.

Much of the areas surrounding the North Pole are experiencing much warmer than normal temperatures – not good news for our Arctic thermal shield of ice. Hotter than usual temperatures continue to dominate human habitats.

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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 WordPress.com 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!

Every day is Earth Day, folks, as I was reminded by this Protea flower I photographed one spring in South Africa. Making the U.S. a global clean energy leader will ensure a heck of a lot more jobs, and a clean, safe future. If you’d like to join the increasing numbers of people who want to TELL Congress that they will vote for clean energy candidates you can do so here. It’s our way of letting Congress know there’s a strong clean energy voting bloc out there. For more detailed summaries of the above and other climate change items, audio podcastsand texts are freely available.

2016-02-09-1455039025-8456979-ProteafloweratKGinCapeTownSA.jpg

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Climate Change This Week: The New Coal, Hot Water, Clean Energy Justice, and More!

Today, the Earth got a little hotter, and a little more crowded.

When we harm forests, we harm ourselves.

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Unique Giraffe Beetle, another biodiversity wonder, is threatened as Madagascar’s forests continue to be destroyed. Wikipedia

OO International Embargo On Exports
Of Precious Woods Extended
– by the international regulating CITES committee, even as the country fails to enforce the current one that allows the continued destruction of dwindling, threatened forests.

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Humanity Continues to Eat Forests Source Mongabay.com

OO Global Deforestation Is Speeding Up – over 60% between 1990-2010, according to a new analysis of satellite imagery, countering a previous global UN FAO study, which looked at land use changes, not tree cover loss. Ultimately, even with the best-case slowdown scenario:

  • deforestation is still happening at an unsustainable pace;
  • every year, there is much less primary forest,
  • more species, many unnamed, become endangered or go extinct, and
  • destroyed forests emit more planet-warming carbon to the atmosphere.

Related Headlines:

2016-02-02-1454440206-7583843-frogumbrellabizarreIndonesiaasiaCreditPenkdikPalmeccr314.png

When Indonesia’s Forests Go, So Do Their Frogs Credit Penkdik Palme

OO Indonesia’s Forest Fires Blamed For Potent Greenhouse Gases – as well as health hazards and deaths caused by the pollution.

OO 90% of Deforestation in Plantation Expansion Areas
Destroying Natural Forests Illegally
apparently, happening outside established plantation boundaries, and destroying forests in Brazil, Colombia, Peru, and Liberia (Africa) , says a new study. This is bad news.

Forests are far better than plantations at:

  • Storing carbon, thus slowing climate change
  • Harboring valuable biodiversity
  • Supplying water to local communities

Forests: the cheapest way to store carbon

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Cap For Cut? California’s cap-and-trade system, promoted as a model for reducing greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, allows timber companies to clear-cut the state’s forests. It’s unclear whether the trade-off is worth it.

OO Cap And Clear-Cut In California

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Credit Ken Doerr at flickr

OO Natural Gas Is the “New Coal” – Cornell University engineering expert Anthony Ingraffea notes:

  • all latest science indicates that if methane leaks, aka natural gas are more than 3% of its total production, it’s the dirtiest of all fossil fuels, worse than coal;
  • because methane is a much potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and
  • all latest reviewed science shows that in the US alone, the leak rate is greater than 3%
  • so, the US should NOT be converting from coal to natural gas to generate electricity

The biggest single methane leak in the US is, so far, unstoppable.

2016-02-02-1454440359-908809-methaneleaksinBostonSourcewww.skepticalscience.comccr314.gif

Boston: 1,000+ Leaks of Methane, a VERY potent greenhouse gas, from fossil fuel operations may be far higher in the US than thought, as this map shows. That makes it far dirtier than coal as a contributor to climate change. Source http://www.skepticalscience.com

Methane production is a climate – and thus economic – loser:

“…in terms of environmental impact [of the Aliso Valley methane leak] on the daily lives of thousands of people and cost, we’re talking about many, many, many billions, perhaps hundreds of billions of dollars when all is said and done here.”

— Cornell University professor of Engineering Anthony Ingraffea at Living On Earth

Related Headlines:

OO Natural Gas Likely Overtook Coal As Top US Power Source In 2015 – according to analysts.

2016-02-02-1454440390-9477904-protesteronmethanepolllutionSourceReutersMediaExpressccr314.jpg
Source Reuters, Media Express

OO Hundreds of Other US Gas-Storage Sites Risk
A Methane Leak Like California’s
say a growing number of environmentalists, engineers and industry watchdogs. Over 400 underground natural-gas storage sites are spread across 31 states, and, like Aliso Canyon, decades-old equipment is deteriorating at many of them.

OO ACT: Tell the EPA to regulate methane emissions from fossil fuel operations

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@@ How The World Went From 170 Million People To 7.3 Billion,
In One Map
– an important factor in climate change: unusustainable growth.

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SOCIAL REPERCUSSIONS

2016-02-02-1454440428-1891388-vegetablesfruitswikipedia.jpg

Wikimedia

OO Climate Change Raises A Troubling Question: Who Gets To Eat? Global warming’s threat to the global food supply gets worse the more the world warms, researchers tell federal regulators.

OO How Climate Change Could Help The Spread Of Zika Virus
And Other Infectious Diseases

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NATURAL REPERCUSSIONS

2016-02-02-1454440464-4586607-globalwarmingcauses7moreextremesnowstormsblizzardsmehccr314.png

How Global Warming Causes More Intense US Blizzards: 1. warming coastal waters send more moisture and heat energy into the air. 2.Weakened by warming, the slowed arctic jetstream loops down into the US. 3. When the two meet, windier, more intense slow-moving snowstorms result, dropping more snow and whipping up higher storms surges that flood coastal towns.

More:

OO What’s Powering This Epic Blizzard On The East Coast

OO Deadly Snowstorm Buries Much Of East Coast

@@ Why Climate Change Makes Stronger Storms – Including Blizzards!

Related Headlines:

OO Atlantic, Caribbean Storms To Be More Destructive
As Ocean Temperatures Rise: Study
and will grow more than twice as powerful and damaging.

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As Heat Rises, So Do Deaths from heat exhaustion. Source Climate Progress

OO 2015 Was Officially The Warmest Year.
2016 Will Likely Be Hotter.
Why shattering temperature records is our new normal. .

Related Headlines:

OO Give It Up, Deniers!
Global Warming is Here

  • 15 of the 16 hottest years on record occurred between 2000 – 2015;
  • The 16th year wasn’t much earlier, in 1998
  • 2015 was a breakaway year.

OO 2015 ‘Smashed’ The Global Heat Record
It Wasn’t Even Close.
Making it the hottest year since records started in 1880.

OO 2015 Was Hottest Year in Recorded History — a burst of heat that has continued into the new year and is roiling weather patterns all over the world.

OO 16 National/Territorial Heat Records Set Worldwide in 2015 – with two that also set all time cold records.

ACT: Tell the Presidential Hopefuls to Act on Climate Change here
http://act.climatetruth.org/sign/candidates_act_on_climate/?t=3&akid=2064.1188.6LzD5K
via the good folks at Climate Truth

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2016-02-02-1454440618-8088209-GreatOceanConveyorBeltDeepOceanCurrentsSourcewww.amfirstbooks.comccr303.jpg

The Greatest Absorbers of Manmade Heat on Earth are the oceans, with vast conveyor belts of currents that redistribute that heat. As deep oceans heat up, though, the oceans will stop absorbing atmospheric heat, greatly speeding up atmospheric warming.

OO We’re In Hot Water:
Oceans Are Heating Up Much Faster
than thought, with the deep ocean absorbing as much heat since 1997 – 2 decades – as it did in the previous 100 years, researchers found.

How Much Heat? Enough to equal a Hiroshima style bomb being exploded every second for 75 straight years, the Associated Press reports.

The Big Danger – as the depths heat up, the oceans will stop absorbing most of the trapped heat from burning fossil fuels – speeding up global warming far faster than now.

Related Headline:

2016-02-02-1454440708-8284667-planktonphytocreditNOAAMESAproject640pxPhytoplanktonfoundationofoceanicfoodchaina.jpg

When These Go, So Will Our Fish and Seafood – phytoplankton form the vital base of the food chain that supports almost all sea life – and they’re dying as oceans warm.

OO Warmer Indian Ocean Could Be ‘Ecological Desert’,
Scientists Warn
– over the past 60 years, rising water temperatures appear to have been reducing the amount of phytoplankton – microscopic plants at the base of the ocean food chain – available as food for fish, according to research released in December.

OO Carbon Dioxide Causing ‘Intoxication’ Of Ocean Fish Sooner Than Expected – Ocean fish around the world risk becoming lost at sea if carbon dioxide concentrations in seawater continue to rise on current trajectories, says a new study.

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OO Greenland: Cloud Blanket Warms Up Melting Icecap at night, preventing meltwater from refreezing, says a new study; the effect is estimated to be responsnble for up to 30% of the melting, which is contributing to sea level rise.

OO Bolivia: Climate Change, Mismanagement Kills No. 2 Lake – as source glaciers melt away, and upstream mining activities further starve it. Recovery may no longer be possible.

2016-02-02-1454440770-5421975-sadcoffeeamongbeansccr314.png

OO Climate Change Threatening Coffee production, both in the medium and long term, said a coffee CEO at a yearly global economic meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

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SPEAKING OUT

2016-02-02-1454440822-9139720-LeonardodiCaprioatUNsourcecbsnewsccr245.jpg

OO Leonardo Dicaprio To Greedy Big Corporate Oil:
‘Enough is enough.’
– the solution to climate change is to keep fossil fuels in the ground, Hollywood star tells World Economic Forum in Davos.

OO Obama’s Offshore Drilling Plan Meets Heavy Resistance Along Atlantic Coast Irate residents in small coastal towns say it would harm endangered marine life, as politicians warn of ‘tragedy.’

OO California Said To Target Exxon In Climate Inquiry

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Aussie Nannies Protest Natural Gas Operation, locking themselves to the gates of the facility to protest the ‘destructive industry’.

OO Australia: Knitting Nannas Charged In Coal-Seam Gas Protest

OO US Tribes Oppose Massive Pipeline Expansion In Canada saying it will put the fishing rights and cultural heritage of U.S. tribes at risk.

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CLUELESS LEADERSHIP

@@ Ted Cruz’s Climate Cluelessness:
Relies on Faulty Data
– satellite data, which most climate research scientists recognize as the worst source of temperature data, not the best, as climate change denier Cruz says. This video explains why. Cruz would rather believe convenient fantasy rather than an inconvenient truth.

OO Ted Cruz Misstates Science Of Climate Change – here are some of the GOP presidential candidate’s claims and how they compare with the facts.

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CLIMATE LEADERSHIP

2016-02-02-1454440955-7598845-BarackObamaclimatechangeparis2015Sourcewww.americanprogress.orgccr307.jpg

OO President Obama Seeks To Limit Methane Gas
‘Flaring’ At Drilling Sites
– with his administration’s recent proposed new rules to clamp down on oil companies that burn off natural gas on public land, arguing the effort will reduce waste and harmful methane emissions as part of President Barack Obama’s bid to curb climate change.

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GOOD CLEAN NEWS

2016-02-02-1454441083-9676809-justicestatuegreenbyMaryEllenHartecctw98.jpg

OO US Supreme Court Rules:
Rooftop Solar Producers, Consumer, 1; Utilities, 0
– a recent court ruling gave more equality to individual clean energy producers in getting a fair price for extra energy sold back to the utility – which will also help lower costs for all.

“It will have a tremendous impact on consumers to control their energy cost and provide a service to the wholesale market,” said a Federal Energy Regulattory Commission official.

OO Washington DC Circuit Won’t Delay EPA’s Clean Power Plan

2016-02-02-1454441113-7209833-solarmanjobinstallingTDCccr314.jpg

OO Why Solar And Wind Thrive Despite Cheap Oil And Gas

  • Prices have fallen, as govt incentives have risen
  • Demand has risen, driven partly by public policy
  • Corporate and investor support are strong

OO Slump In Oil Prices Drives
Green Energy Takeup In Top Exporting Nations
especially as oil slumps below $30 a barrel.

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2014-05-16-moneybagsgreenmrviaforcechangecomcctw92.jpg

OO 70% Drop in Energy Storage Costs Forecasted by 2030 says a new World Energy Council report.

OO New York Creates $5 Billion Clean Energy Fund to Spur Renewables

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Going Green Makes Green in the Mideast Source The Guardian

OO Gulf Countries’ Savings Put at $87 Billion With Renewable Energy if they achieve goals for renewables use by 2030, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.

OO Abu Dhabi Bank Makes US$10 Billion Renewables Pledge over 10 years to finance renewable energy and other sustainable business activities.

2016-02-02-1454441180-9502176-windturbinespeopleboatdenmarkTDCccr314.jpg

A Welcome Danish Sight

OO Denmark Broke World Record For Wind Power In 2015

OO China’s Coal-Burning In Significant Decline, Figures Show if China is being honest this time, signalling a major turnaround for the world’s biggest polluter.

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GOOD IDEAS

2016-02-02-1454441211-6838652-masstransittrolleycarSourceWikipediaccr314.jpg

Wikipedia

OO How Cities Are Getting People to Ditch Their Cars – one way is to ease fare purchase through cash-free transactions. Another is to foster brainstorming among city and transport experts through webinars and other forms of meetups.

OO Thou Shalt Not Toss Food:
Enlisting Religious Groups To Fight Waste

OO Turning Industrial Systems Into Fast-Acting Grid Batteries:
Hot Asphalt Tanks, For Example
– which can replace power plants and supply energy faster. Anything that stores energy can be used, like supermarket refrigerators or water pumps. These are the new grid assets.

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FOSSIL FUEL FOLLIES

2016-02-02-1454441243-4596619-refugeechildrensahel2013creditUNEskinderDebebe.jpg

Drought Creates Young Hungry Refugees Credit UN, Eskinder Debebe

OO Fossil Fuel Pollution Linked to Sahel Drought – data indicate that sulphate aerosols, produced by fossil fuel burning in Europe and North America, slowed evaporation from the North Atlantic and cut off the Sahel’s moisture source.

OO Fast-Acting Methane From California Leak
Is Boosting Global Warming

Related Headlines:

2016-02-02-1454441294-5371493-PorterRanchmethaneleaksparksprotestsSourcewww.laprogressive.comccr312.jpg

Not Just People Are Suffering but pets, too. Source http://www.laprogressive.com

OO Porter Ranch Gas Leak Is Affecting Pets Too, Owners Fear – as unexpected ailments and behaviors appear among them.

OO CA Regulators Order Company
to Permanently Close Leaking Gas Well
– and meantime, minimize resulting air pollution and fund an independent study on potential health impacts on local communities.

2016-02-02-1454441328-938543-dieselcarSourcewww.thehindubusinessline.comccr314.jpg

Source http://www.thehindubusinessline.com

OO Emissions Scandal: Almost All Diesel Cars Break Official Limits
When Driven On The Road
and are in the hands of motorists, testing reveals. Europe and India are big diesel users.

OO Pakistan Turns To Coal To Keep Factories Running to tackle chronic energy shortages. Bad news for them and us.

Google climate humor

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2014-07-06-populationmatters2green.png

If we do not grow sustainably,
Our children will die inhumanely.

@@ How Parents Can Help Prevent Teen Pregnancy

Teen childbearing cost US taxpayers $9+ Billion in 2010
And the costs of raising a child usually ensures decades, if not a life, of poverty for its mother.
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Help prevent unintended pregnancies in your community:
publicize where women can access affordable contraception.

2015-12-15-1450211150-3188590-larccontraceptivepostercoupleeyeslookingsidewaysmehccr307.png

They can go here to find locations:

2015-12-15-1450211215-359134-contraceptivealocationengineqrcode.png

And there are many more actions you can do, right here.

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SOLAR KEEPS DRIVING

2015-04-13-1428953864-5684679-solarkeepsdrivingwww.solarkingu.comccr272.jpg
Source http://www.solarkinguk.com

OO Global Solar PV Installations Grew 34% in 2015 – by the end of 2016, cumulative installations will reach 321 gigawatts.

2014-01-31-geostellargetcleanenergy.png

Check it out here, right now!

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WHY WE SHOULD ACT NOW: RISING RISKS

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Daily Climate Change: Global Map of Unusual Temperatures, Feb 1, 2016

How unusual has the weather been? No one event is “caused” by climate change, but global warming, which is predicted to increase unusual, extreme weather, is having a daily effect on weather, worldwide.

Looking above at recent temperature anomalies, much of the US and the waters surrounding it are experiencing warmer than normal temperatures: despite recent El Nino driven rains California’s drought continues. A combination of climate change factors helped create an unusually large destructive snowstorm on the east coast recently.

Much of the areas surrounding the North Pole are experiencing much warmer than normal temperatures – not good news for our Arctic thermal shield of ice. Hotter than usual temperatures continue to dominate human habitats.

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2015-12-28-1451344420-5650759-climatechangebar570.png

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 WordPress.com 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!

Every day is Earth Day, folks, as I was reminded by this wild flower I photographed one spring in South Africa. Making the U.S. a global clean energy leader will ensure a heck of a lot more jobs, and a clean, safe future. If you’d like to join the increasing numbers of people who want to TELL Congress that they will vote for clean energy candidates you can do so here. It’s our way of letting Congress know there’s a strong clean energy voting bloc out there. For more detailed summaries of the above and other climate change items, audio podcasts and textsare freely available.

2016-02-02-1454441406-4650688-Geissorhizaradiansafricanflowerwildflower.jpg

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

 

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The American Zika Virus Threat: What You Need to Know

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Microcephalic Babies Are Tied to Zika viral infections during their first 3 months of fetal development. Source bn.thetodaypost.com

Zika virus (Zv) infects people via daytime mosquitoes carrying it, and rarely via sex with infected partners. Mosquitoes can bite infected people and then bite others, transmitting Zv to new people.

EFFECTS

  1. in individuals, Zv typically causes no to mild symptoms (joint pain, irritated eyes, fever), dies out in the body after a week, and leaves the person immunized from further infection.
  2. a Zv infected woman in her first 3 months of pregnancy risks giving birth to a small brained (microcephalic) baby, who is likely to have serious developmental problems, often resulting in a relatively short lifespan.

Zv SPREAD

Zv, related to dengue, yellow fever, and West Nile viruses, is kept alive via a wild host population in Africa. Immunized people are no longer hosts, but sources are maintained in wild animals that carry the virus.

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The Current Spread of Zika Virus. Source Center for Disease Control and Prevention

  1. In 2015 Zv spread probably from Pacific islands to Central America, where vast human populations are potential temporary hosts to the virus.
  2. Nearly 4000 Brazilian microcephalic babies, born between October 2015 and January 2016, indicate the explosive spread of Zv throughout Brazil in early 2015. A sharp rise in Zv is reported in several other Latin American countries.
  3. The World Health Organization predicts Zv to spread wherever carrier mosquitoes occur – that is, throughout South and North America, except in Canada and Chile.*

2016-01-29-1454108139-5039163-zikavectormosquitoCreditJamesGathanyatWikimediaCommonsjan2016.jpg

Mosquitoes Transmit Zika Virus, but the sources are in animals that carry the virus.
Credit James Gathany at Wikimedia Commons

*Ultimately, widespread vaccination within human populations will likely keep Zv to manageable levels, but not wipe it out. Those same mosquitoes will probably infect American animals, which will be American carrier hosts. Such animals carry the live virus in their blood on a long-term basis, and are perpetual sources of it. Knowing which species are carriers and killing them all off simply isn’t feasible.

PREVENTION

No vaccines exist yet, although manufacturers say one could be available for emergency use by October 2016.

CDC Short-term Guidelines

For pregnant women who have traveled or are in Zv zones: get tested for it. See the CDC page for details. If you test positive, consider serial ultrasounds to track fetal development.

2016-01-29-1454108182-8770035-mexicotourismbeachSourcewww.touropia.comjan2016.jpg

Go When You’re Not Pregnant to Mexico and the following countries below, says the Center for Disease Control, to prevent any fetal harm. Source http://www.touropia.com

For pregnant women: postpone travel to Zv zones, which now include:

  • Central and South America: Mexico, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana, Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela
  • Caribbean: Barbados, Saint Martin, Haiti, Martinique, Puerto Rico, Guadeloupe
  • Oceania: Samoa
  • Africa: Cape Verde

2016-01-29-1454109875-3654471-mosquitorepellentsacontainingDEETSourcestlmosquitocontrol.comjan2016.jpg

DEET Containing Repellents Are Safe to use and effective at repelling mosquitoes.Source stlmosquitocontrol.com

Prevention In the Zv Zone:

Use mosquito repellent, and mosquito nets when napping.

For women travelers: avoid pregnancy. Use highly effective contraceptives.

For men travelers: make sure highly effective contraceptives are used if you have sex.

For women living long-term in Zv zones – consider postponing pregnancy (as several countries suggest) until:

  • a vaccine becomes available, or
  • you test positive for Zika virus antibodies: this indicates that you have already been infected with, and subsequently immunized against, Zv.

2016-01-29-1454108230-5275274-swisscheeseaccidentcausationmodelSourceDavidmackviaWikimediaCommonsCCBYSAJan2016.png

Swiss Cheese Model for accident causation. Failures in various prevention factors (holes in the cheese) can cause a Zika epidemic. Source Davidmack via Wikimedia Commons

LONG-TERM PREVENTION

Understand how the spread occurs, via, for example, the Swiss Cheese Modelof accident causation.

2016-01-29-1454108283-2916535-amazonloggingclearcuttingdeforestationTDCccr205.jpg

Stopping Deforestation Slows Climate Change, and Zika Virus Spread

Develop an overall system for preventing its spread, which includes:

  • Get vaccinated for Zv.
  • Minimize mosquito breeding grounds in urban areas.
  • Minimize activities that create breeding grounds, such as deforestation.
  • Prevent further climate change, which helps mosquitoes proliferate and spread.

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

 

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Climate Change This Week: Solar Job Boom, US Blizzard Gloom, and More!

Today, the Earth got a little hotter, and a little more crowded.

2016-01-26-1453834944-6106273-icycucumberjellybizarrecaterpillarSourcebayuccaatflickrccr309.jpg

It’s a Cuke! It’s a Popsicle! No, no, it’s a … Caterpillar! from an Asian rainforest: one more reason to preserve these carbon-storing ecosystems. Source bayucca at flickr

OO A Cheap, Fast Way to Slow Sea Rise: Save and Regrow Tropical Forests – says an expert, as nations continue to curb carbon emissions.

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Source ajunglescientists.wordpress.com

Forests: the cheapest way to store carbon

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OO 2015 Blew Away Previous Records To Become Earth’s Hottest Year – The combination of a record strong El Niño event plus the highest amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at any time in human history have given the climate system the equivalent of a Power Bar plus a shot of espresso.

OO Climate Change Disaster Is Biggest Threat To Global Economy In 2016 – say experts. Global warming heads top economists’ concerns for the first time.

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2016-01-26-1453835515-7315281-blizzardsnowstormJonasJan2016predictedsnowfallsCreditAerisWeatherccr313.jpg

Jonas was a Whale of a Blizzard with a 1,000 mile long front dumping near record levels of snow from Virginia and Washington DC up to New York City and beyond, and creating coastal surge flooding. Both snow and flooding records were broken.Credit AerisWeather

OO Monster Blizzard Winter Storm Jonas Fits Climate Change Predictions – leading climatologists agree that global warming:

  • heats ocean surface waters, which evaporate more water, raising air moisture and temperature;
  • weakens the polar jetstream, creating winds that bring frigid polar air into the US.
  • As cold air meets warm, moist air a heavy snowstorm results with high winds, stoked by the air’s heat. Coastal storm surges create flooding.
  • Under global warming, northeast US precipitation has been increasing over the past 40 years.

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2016-01-26-1453835651-6731514-microcephalybabySourcebn.thetodaypost.comccr313.jpg

Mosquito Borne Zika Virus Linked to Small Brained Babies – in Brazil, and increasingly elsewhere. Women in their trimester of pregnancy who are infected by daytime mosquito bearing Zika virus are increasingly giving birth to microcephalic babies. The virus may last only a week or so in the women, but permanently harms the baby. Source bn.thetodaypost.com

OO Under Global Warming, Multiple Mosquito Borne Epidemics Could OccurSimultaneously and the US must prepare for such a scenario, warn doctors in a new report in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Related Headline:

OO Brazil: Panic As Mosquito-Borne Virus Linked To Brain Damage In Thousands Of Babies

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@@ Climate Change 101: Why Care? What You Need to Know – Bill Nye tells it all in five minutes amid graphic, dynamic, engaging, compelling imagery. Check it Out!

OO Climate Change Economically Threatens Global Middle Class – the erosion of wealth among the world’s middle class due to climate change is a threat to economic and social stability; this could spur its 1 billion members to push for action on global warming, Swiss bank UBS Group AG said.

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2016-01-26-1453835692-1250519-antarcticicebergbirthing2013satelliteSourceNASAsatelliteccr313.jpg

Antarctic Iceberg Birth as seen from a NASA satellite.

OO Antarctic Icebergs Help Plankton Store Carbon As They Raise Sea Levels– more and larger icebergs occur under global warming: as they melt, they release nutrients that trigger oceanic plankton blooms large enough to store carbon equal to that emitted yearly by Sweden or New Zealand, says a new study.

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Diving in Death, a young murre was one of many such seabirds found dead in 2015 in California; now tens of thousands are dead in Alaska, as warm waters reduce their food stocks, scientists suggest.

OO Mysterious Mass Deaths Of Alaskan Birds Baffles Scientists -Tens of thousands of dead birds are washing up on the beaches of Alaska’s Prince William Sound; some experts say it may be related to the changing climate.

Related Headline:

OO Starvation Suspected In Massive Die-Off Of Alaska Seabirds – Scientists say ecosystem changes could have reduced the numbers food fish vital to murres.

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2016-01-26-1453835962-1202586-saigaantelopemassdieoffSourceKazakhstanMinistryofAgricultureccr313.png

Mother And Child in Death – over half (200,000+) of this species, the once populous antelope of the vast Eurasian steppes, perished in 2015 as unusual extreme weather left them vulnerable to lethal disease.

OO In Pitiful Animal Die-Offs Worldwide — From Antelopes To Bees To Seabirds — Climate Change May Be Culprit – which, along with El Nino, created enough extreme conditions to create massive carnage. Some of the most dramatic examples in 2015:

  • over half (220,000+) of all Eurasian saiga antelope, stressed from extremely stormy weather, died.
  • A record mass die-off of murres, diving seabirds, starved to death as their food stocks disappeared
  • A near record worldwide die-off of corals is occurring as oceans become too hot for them
  • Drought and heat are causing major die offs of US west coast salmon and other fish.

2016-01-26-1453836008-8803090-bumblebeeondaisiesDSCN1353fleabanenbee500w.jpg

To Bee or Not to Bee? Wild bumble bees are on the decline, as well as domestic honeybees.

Furthermore:

  • Bumblebees are declining throughout Europe and North America
  • US Western drought killed 12 million CA trees and threaten 58 million more
  • Massive tree die-offs are predicted for the US southwest by 2060
  • Massive die-offs (700+ studied from 1940 to 201)0, threatening entire species, are increasing

Common to all of these die-offs:: the species’ environments are changing, and they’re struggling to keep up.

OO South Africa Suffers Driest Year On Record In 2015 as a drought that threatens the vital maize crop and hit economic growth shows no sign of abating.

2016-01-26-1453836046-170856-babyclownfishgoogleccr313.jpg

How Will Nemo Get Home? This school of baby clown fish faces a threatened future.

OO Baby Fish May Get Lost In Silent Oceans As Carbon Dioxide Rises – Future oceans will be much quieter places, making it harder for young marine animals that navigate using sound to find their way back home, new research has found.

OO Company Behind Methane Leak Is Ordered To Offset The Climate Damagesays the California governor’s state-of-emergency declaration.

* *SPEAK OUT

OO As Exxon Faces Investigation, Investors Renew Pressure For Stronger Climate Stance

2016-01-26-1453836104-8085827-obamasotu2016CreditGregNashccr313.jpg

Credit Greg Nash

OO Fossil Fuel Leases Should Charge For Climate Change, Says President – he wants companies leasing oil and coal rights on federal land to pay more for the effects those fuels have on climate change.

OO Obama Calls For Economic Help For Coal States

* *CLEAN LEADERSHIP

2016-01-26-1453836158-6734772-ObamaParisclimatetalksSourcegreentechmediaccr313.jpg“Why would we want to pass up the chance for American businesses to produce and sell the energy of the future?”

OO Obama Wins Praise as a Champion of Clean Energy Despite Political Gridlock

OO In Climate Move, Obama to Halt New Coal Mining Leases on Public Lands

OO SOTU: Obama Vows To Fix Fossil Fuel Program That Gives Away Cheap Coal – he pushes for changes in how government manages public-land fossil fuels.

* *CLUELESS LEADERSHIP

2016-01-26-1453836265-7886499-GOPcoalpollutioncartoonCreditKhalilBendibatotherwords.orgccr313.jpg

Credit Khalil Bendib at otherwords.org

OO GOP House Allows Coal Mining to Pollute America’s Streams by appoving a bill that does so, by blocking new Obama administration regulations designed to reduce the environmental impact of coal mining on the nation’s streams. Gee, thanks, guys!

* *GOOD CLEAN NEWS

2016-01-26-1453836334-2566644-maninstallingsolarpanelsjobsSourceGreenMPsonFlickrccr296.jpg

OO US Solar Industry Provides More Jobs Than Oil and Gas Extraction – solar employment continues its 20% annual growth rate.

**

2016-01-26-1453836388-3167146-cleanenergyinvestmentin2015SourceBNEFccr313.png

OO A New Record for Clean Energy Investment – cheap oil and natural gas can’t keep renewables down.

Related Headlines:

OO Clean Energy Defies Fossil-Fuel Price Crash, Attracts Record $329 Billion Global Investment in 2015

**

 

//www.washingtonpost.com/video/c/embed/ec1bea1e-b9a3-11e5-85cd-5ad59bc19432

In his final State of the Union address, U.S. President Barack Obama said the U.S. must stop subsidizing fuels of the past. Source Reuters

OO Why Clean Energy Is Now Expanding Even When Fossil Fuels Are Cheap– Because:

  • US Congress extended wind and solar tax credits
  • Paris agreement encourages the clean energy market
  • Clean energy jobs are booming
  • CA, a clean energy leading state, created new policies to boost rooftop solar

OO Solar and Wind Just Did the Unthinkable: Record Growth Despite Cheap Fossil Fuels

2016-01-26-1453836443-8312905-solarpanelswindturbinesflowersdaisiesSourcecleantechfinance.netccr302.jpg

OO Hints And Nods Point To Vast Energy Changes – in the past 7 years, including:

  • a major Canadian pipeline canceled by US;
  • a groundbreaking climate deal in Paris;
  • Solar and wind costs have plummeted;
  • the return of 2$-a-gallon gasoline;
  • some of coal’s largest corporations have gone bankrupt;
  • natural gas has become a major factor – the “new coal” that is NOT shrinking the US carbon footprint (contrary to the article): processing it creates substantial emissions of this highly potent greenhouse gas, making it as dirty as coal.

“Meanwhile, we’ve cut our imports of foreign oil by nearly 60%, and cut carbon pollution more than any other country on Earth.” said President Obama.

2016-01-26-1453836490-5491421-EiffeltowerFranceSourcedoodlefinder.comccr288.jpg

Source doodlefinder.com

OO Rapid Switch To Renewable Energy Can Put Paris Climate Goals Within Reach – Countries can deliver on the promises of the historic Paris climate change agreement by rapid scaling up wind and solar power to 36% of the global energy mix by 2030, an international energy gathering was told.

OO State Renewable Energy Mandates Are Producing Enormous Benefits – As the policy workhorse behind the rapid rise of renewable energy in the U.S.

but…

OO States’ Renewable Electricity Goals Not Curbing Carbon Emissionssignificantly.

**

2014-05-16-moneybagsgreenmrviaforcechangecomcctw92.jpg

OO DOE Announces $220 Million in Grid Modernization Funding, In Prep For Clean Energy to support critical research and development in advanced storage systems, clean energy integration, standards and test procedures, and a number of other key grid modernization areas.

OO UK: World’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm Sets New Generation Record – for offshore wind generation. The London Array generated 369,000 MWh of electricit.

* *FOSSIL FUEL FOLLIES

2016-01-26-1453836528-329290-gasleaklocationAlisoValleyPorterRanchCreditStuartPalleyccr313.jpg

Credit Stuart Palley

OO California Gas Leak Is Emitting 4.5 Million Cars’ Worth Of Pollution Daily

Related Headlines:

OO Utility May Have Understated Health Threat From Gas Leak including the number of times airborne levels of the cancer-causing chemical benzene have spiked.

OO Leaking Methane Plume Spreading Across L.A.’S San Fernando Valleyraises potential health concerns for people living outside the immediate vicinity of the Aliso Canyon gas leak.

2016-01-26-1453836571-8540393-methaneflaringTDCccr313.jpg

OO The World Is Hemorrhaging Methane, And Now We Can See Where – The Aliso Canyon breach is accidental, but thousands of other sites are flaring off methane intentionally, as waste.

**

2016-01-26-1453836640-5843853-fossilfuelsubsidiescartoonCreditTomToleattheWashingtonPostccr290.gif

Another Form of Fossil Fuel Subsidies… remember Mitt? And now we have so many GOP presidential candidates that fill his shoes! Brings tears to my eyes.Credit Dave Granlund

OO US Taxpayer Due To Subsidize Koch-Controlled Coal Mine

OO US Coal Companies Getting Pummelled In Stock Market

OO One of the Largest US Coal Companies Filed For Bankruptcy

2016-01-26-1453836815-3605641-coalchinaburningviatreehuggercom.jpg

False Reporting Does Not Change Pollution Levels in China, which then get blown to the US 10 days later. It undermines their international standing.

OO False Emissions Reporting Undermines China’s Pollution Fight

OO Southeast Asia High In The Ranks Of Global Polluters – Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels rose 227 percent from 1990 to 2010.

* *2014-07-06-populationmatters2green.png

If we do not grow sustainably, Our children will die inhumanely. 

@@ Myth vs Truth: The Huge Value of Contraception is an incisive, heartfelt recognition of the value of contraception by Sarah Brown, CEO, The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy

Unintended Pregnancy Costs US Taxpayers:

Unintended Pregnancies Cost US Taxypayers Nearly $11 Billion Yearlythe Guttmacher Institute

Teen Childbearing Alone Cost US Taxpayers $9+ Billion In 2010 And the costs of raising a child usually ensures decades, if not a life, of poverty for its mother. – US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Help prevent unintended pregnancies in your community: publicize where women can access affordable contraception.

2015-12-15-1450211150-3188590-larccontraceptivepostercoupleeyeslookingsidewaysmehccr307.png

They can go here to find locations:

2015-12-15-1450211215-359134-contraceptivealocationengineqrcode.pngAnd there are many more actions you can do, right here.

* * *SOLAR KEEPS DANCING

2015-01-19-solarkeepsdancingonthebeachatflickrccr260.jpg

OO US Solar Job Boom Continues As Prices Spur Demand – the U.S. solar power industry continued its hiring spree in 2015, growing nearly 12 times faster than overall U.S. employment.

Related Headline:

OO Solar Power: The Next Energy Jobs Juggernaut? As the price of solar power continues to plummet – and the costs of extracting oil, gas, and coal continue to rise – solar is emerging as a significant job creator in a shifting energy economy.

2016-01-26-1453836871-1244893-snowmanSourcewotv4women.comccr313.jpg

Imagine Staying REALLY Warm as you build your snowman; now MIT has created a material that might someday be used in clothes to capture and retain solar heat. As the sun glows, so do you! Source wotv4women.com

OO MIT: New Material Can Store Solar Energy to Warm You Up Later – While solar power is used to generate electricity, one could save even more power by storing heat. MIT scientists have created a new thin transparent film that does exactly that. When exposed to sunlight, it assumes a “charged” state that can be maintained for long periods of time.

However, when triggered with a small burst of heat, the material reverts to its original chemical composition, releasing a much larger amount of heat energy. Possible future applications? Self-defrosting windshields, warming your home – or your clothes!

2016-01-26-1453836920-1724565-sunsetsunovemideastsaudidunesSourcewww.memphistours.comccr313.jpg

Source http://www.memphistours.com

OO Middle East Desert Sands Could Store Solar Energy as the region quietly becomes a center for solar power. United Arab Emirates researchers have shown that desert sand could be used to store energy at 1,800+ degrees Fahrenheit (1,000+ degrees Celsius) in concentrated solar power facilities.

**

2016-01-26-1453837014-5186422-nevadasolarprotestSourcewww.vox.comccr313.jpg

Nevada: Solar Customers Fight Back! Source http://www.vox.com

OO Solar Customers Launch A Class Action Lawsuit Against NV Energy – saying the utility “conspired to unlawfully reduce incentives” in order to protect its monopoly.

OO SolarCity, Sunrun to Pull Out of Nevada, Cutting Hundreds of Jobs due to the new rules, which decrease the savings that many count on for going solar.

OO GOP Nevada Leaders Oppose Solar – And Might Help Elect A Democratic 2016 President – indicates a poll among state voters, roughly 90% of whom support solar power, as in rooftop solar installations. Roughly 70-80% of polled likely voters would be “unlikely” to re-elect a politician who failed to raise the solar net metering cap – and that could influence their presidential votes, as well.

**

2016-01-26-1453837062-6038447-floatingsolarpanelsfarmSourcenews.discovery.comccr313.jpg

Source news.discovery.com

OO Solar Energy Farm Floats on Reservoir – in France, illustrating how solar arrays could float on reservoirs, quarry lakes, irrigation canals or remediation ponds. Such installations can make these waterways serve a double purpose as they reduce evaporation.

OO Chile: Innovative Project To Provide 24/7 Renewable Energy To Village – a solar powered pumped-storage hydroelectric plant will pump seawater up a cliff on the coast using solar energy, to a natural storage basin at an altitude of 600 metre. At night, the plant will generate electricity by releasing the stored water, which will rush down through the same tunnels.

2014-01-31-geostellargetcleanenergy.pngCheck it out here, right now!* * *WHY WE SHOULD ACT NOW: RISING RISKS

2016-01-26-1453837110-8464439-anomaltempjan262016.png

Daily Climate Change: Global Map of Unusual Temperatures, Jan 26, 2016

How unusual has the weather been? No one event is “caused” by climate change, but global warming, which is predicted to increase unusual, extreme weather, is having a daily effect on weather, worldwide.

Looking above at recent temperature anomalies, much of the US and the waters surrounding it are experiencing warmer than normal temperatures: the eastern Pacific warm spot continues to prevent enough rain from reaching California, to stop the drought.

Meanwhile, a recent monster blizzard and accompanying coastal storm surge flooding, paralyzed temporarily much of the US east coast. Two effects of climate change fueled the event: unusually warm coastal waters supplied the air moisture and heat that, with an Arctic invasion of cold air, transformed into high winds and lots of snow.

Much of the areas surrounding the North Pole are experiencing much warmer than normal temperatures – not good news for our Arctic thermal shield of ice. Hotter than usual temperatures continue to dominate human habitats.

* * *2015-12-28-1451344420-5650759-climatechangebar570.png

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 WordPress.com 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!

Every day is Earth Day, folks, as I was reminded by this wild iris I photographed one spring. Making the U.S. a global clean energy leader will ensure a heck of a lot more jobs, and a clean, safe future. If you’d like to join the increasing numbers of people who want to TELL Congress that they will vote for clean energy candidates you can do so here. It’s our way of letting Congress know there’s a strong clean energy voting bloc out there. For more detailed summaries of the above and other climate change items, audio podcasts and texts are freely available.

2016-01-26-1453837184-408630-DSCN7729Irisdouglasianaflowerbeheadedbutalive570.jpg

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

 

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Climate Change This Week: Future Major Power Disruption, Clean Energy Pays, and More!

Today, the Earth got a little hotter, and a little more crowded.

2016-01-19-1453241136-8442251-beautifulredeyedtreefrogNWamazonSourcewww.basilbaker.comccr299.jpg
Another Reason to Preserve the Carbon Storing Amazon: Its Biodiversityas personified in this red eyed tree frog. Sourcewww.basilbaker.com

Forests: the cheapest way to store carbon

OO Dams Threaten Amazon Forest, Promoting Deforestation For Decades – shows a new study documenting the long term effect of a Brazilian mega dam. The Tucurui Dam:

  • destroyed 3,000 square kilometers (sq km) of forest with reservoirs;
  • created huge methane emissions from flooded rotting forests;
  • cities and illegal logging developed around the new dam

2016-01-19-1453241538-5138443-tucuruimegadamamazonSourceInternationalRiversonflickrccr312.jpg
Source International Rivers at flickr

  • 600+ sq km of forest were lost yearly for 20 years (12,000+ sq km);
  • forest loss continues at 300+ sq km yearly.
  • 400+ amazon dams, many mega-size, are operating, being planned or built;
  • wholesale deforestation will decrease riverflow, and electricity produced by dams.

When we harm forests, we harm ourselves.

**
2016-01-19-1453241612-5628432-heatwaveDSCN9309Africanheatwaveversion_resize.jpg

OO Earth Is Experiencing a Global Warming Spurt – following a global warming slowdown that lasted about 15 years under one phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation cycle.

This much slower moving cycle has now switched into its other phase, and is currently interacting with the El Niño oceanic cycle; both cycles are being amplified by climate change.

OO NOAA: US Posts Second-Hottest Year On Record – extending the streak of warmer-than-average annual temperatures, as the planet set another record hot year in recorded history.

**
2016-01-19-1453241654-2315548-HurricanePaliNASAccr312.png
Hurricane Pali formed recently in the Pacific Ocean, as did subtropical storm Alex in the Atlantic. NASA

OO Unprecedented: Simultaneous January Named Storms
in the Atlantic and Central Pacific
– when the earliest storms in both oceans typically occur in July.

OO Weather Whiplash, From Hot to Frigid, Hits Eastern US – as El Nino and climate change continue their dynamic winter dance. “Expect the unexpected,” says a chief meteorologist.

**
2015-04-13-1428954510-2485514-wildfirevortexMorganFireNEofSFcredMattGranzcourtesytwittersacramentoNationalWeatherService.jpg
Credit Matt Granz

OO US Wildfires Just Set An Amazing And Troubling New Record – Officials say that in an era of climate change, they’re going to keep getting worse.

@@ Canada: Wildfires Broke Record In 2015 – Wildfires scorched a record amount of Canada’s national parks last year – the latest in a number of long, hot summers that have almost entirely depleted Parks Canada’s firefighting reserve.

**
2016-01-19-1453241694-95242-deforestationforpalmoilinBorneomongabay.jpg
Deforestation is one of the fastest ways that environments are changing dramatically, while climate change is creating vast fast changes on a global scale.Source Mongabay.com

OO Environmental Change Rate Unprecedented, Study Says -published in the journal Nature Geosciences, it found that the pace of environmental change is occurring faster now than at any other previous time in the Earth’s history.

OO A New Type of Ice In Greenland
Has Sped Up Ice Loss, Sea Level Rise

**

@@ Climate Change 101: Why Care?
What You Need to Know
– Bill Nye tells it all in five minutes amid graphic, dynamic, engaging, compelling imagery. Check it Out!

**
ggg marine life, Source http://www.tes.com, ccr 312
Fish to Fry as the oceans warm and acidify. Source http://www.tes.com

OO Marine Life Can’t Keep Up With Climate Change – the oceans are getting too warm and acidic too fast for sea life to adapt. Massive die-offs of fish, crabs, and sea birds in the Pacific northwest portend what will happen worldwide as conditions worsen under continued global warming.

OO Mekong Dams Threaten SE Asia’s Greatest Lake – And Food Security For Millions – Scientists warn that plans to build dams across Lake Tonlé Sap could be an ecological time bomb.

**

2016-01-19-1453241842-2226122-tyrannyofthecontemporarymessageabyStephenGardinerccr312.png

The Spirit of Christmas Future

OO Look Your Children In the Eyes:
Why Climate Change Is an Ethical Problem
– we’re taking modest benefits now as we pass the catastrophic costs on to our kids later.

*
*

CLIMATE CHANGE COSTS

2016-01-19-1453241910-4368343-whyohlordhumandevastationfromtornadostormCreditCharlieRiedelatAssociatedPressjan2016.jpg
Beyond Insurance is the real hardship created by extreme weather. Credit Charlie Riedel at Associated Press

OO Insurers Paid Out $27 Billion For Natural Disaster Claims In 2015 with weather causing 94% of incidents, according to data from reinsurer Munich Re.

OO Cash For The Climate Please, Caribbean Leaders Lament – as they request funding needed for adaptation and mitigation of climate change.

*
*

SPEAKING OUT

@@ Bernie Sanders Proposes Aggressive Climate Change Policies

OO Poll: Most Americans Support Action To Stop Climate Change and believe it’s leading to higher sea levels and more extreme weather patterns.

OO Pope Inspires Clergy To Join Environmental Movement

@@ President Obama:
If You Still Dispute Climate Change, ‘You’ll Be Pretty Lonely’

*
*

GOOD CLEAN NEWS

@@ GravityLight 2: Replacing Millions of Kerosene Lights With Clean Energy Lighting – so easy a child can use it, making gravity power a light that last about a half hour: this could be used to help a billion people worldwide.

OO Benefits From State Renewable Portfolio Standards Far Outweigh Costs – Report State targets offer $7.2 billion in environmental and health benefits, compared to an estimated $1 billion in compliance costs.


OO Mighty Money For Small Wind Projects:
$200 Million
– has been clinched by United Wind Inc, which has carved out a niche leasing wind turbines to farms and rural homes, has clinched $200 million in funding – the largest-ever single investment in small wind projects.

2016-01-19-1453241962-3974500-sunsetoncoalSourcewww.coalisdirty.comccr301.JPG
Getting Out of a Dirty Business is good, but we need to exit from coal far faster.Source http://www.coal-is-dirty.com

OO Oregon Utilities Agree To Phase Out Coal-Fired Power by 2030

OO U.S. Coal Production Dropped To 30-Year Low In 2015 thanks in part to low natural gas prices and climate policies encouraging utilities to switch to natural gas to generate electricity… except that the gas leaks associated with providing natural gas makes it just as dirty as coal, in terms of causing climate change.

Related Headline

OO America’s Coal Production Falls to Its Lowest Level Since 1986 Coal’s downward spiral continues.

**
2016-01-19-1453242011-4843087-methaneplumeoverSanJuanbasinUSmapSourceNASAJPLCaltechUniversityofMichiganccr312.jpg
Red Marks the Methane plume over the San Juan basin, where ConocoPhillips operates, and is making a little progress towards cleaning up its messy business.Source NASA, JPL-Caltech, University of Michigan

OO ConocoPhillips Slashed Methane Emissions 23% in 2014

OO Big Carbon Polluters Face New Emissions Rule In Washington Stateespecially cement makers, oil refiners and paper mills.

2014-05-16-moneybagsgreenmrviaforcechangecomcctw92.jpg

OO $33 Million Allocated to Prep Power Grid for Clean Energy

OO $175 Million Lined Up For Solar Financing – and other clean energy development.

OO EPA Looks to Build on Big Wins This Year – it plans to:

  • Help implement goals established by the Paris agreement
  • finalize rules this year to cut carbon pollution from heavy-duty vehicles
  • and a rule to limit methane leaks from oil and gas operations

*
*

NATURAL REPERCUSSIONS

2016-01-19-1453242051-5975085-boyseatingcerealTDCccr312.jpg
Crunch Time on Rice Crispies Cereal crop production is slowly falling due to more droughts and heatwaves.

OO Climate Change: Cereal Harvests Worldwide Fell By 10 % In 50 Yearsvia increased droughts and heatwaves.

OO East Africans Are Starving–Again–
As The World Looks Away
– as drought and war create two hunger emergencies.

2016-01-19-1453242100-3304497-pollutingpowerplantinFloridaWalteratFlickrccr265.jpg
Too Hot to Burn? Global warming is starting to create water shortages that could ultimately cripple thermoelectric plants, which need water to cool their operations.Source Walter at Flickr

OO Climate Change Could Cut Global Electricity
Output by Disrupting Water
leading to water shortages that:

  • will cut hydropower generation in big dam;s
  • will not be able to cool thermoelectric plants, such as nuclear plants.
  • both sources supply nearly all (98%) of the world’s electricity.

said the study published in the journal Nature Climate Change. ** 2016-01-19-1453242193-6245818-beautifulbizarrequetzalbirdaCostaRicaSourceneotropical.birds.cornell.educcr312.pngA Biodiversity Hotspot is Drying Up – the Monteverde Cloud Forest is home to the famed Resplendent Quetzal. Source neotropical.birds.cornell.eduOO Climate Change Is Drying Costa Rica’s
Treasured Monteverde Cloud Forest
a spectacular biodiversity hotspot for plants as well as animals.

OO Sitting Ducks:
Why Millions Of Arctic Seabirds Are In Danger
– Oil spills, climate change, fishing, shipping routes–threats facing Arctic seabirds are vast, and hard to track.

**
2016-01-19-1453242235-983084-bizarrequeenofshebaorchidSWAustraliaThelymitravariegataSourcewww.youtube.comccr312.jpg
Queen of Sheba Orchid is one of thousands of native south Australian plants threatened by climate change. Source http://www.youtube.com

OO Climate Change, Weeds Threaten South Australia’s Plant Biodiversity– which includes six plant biodiversity hotspots, say researchers.

*
*

FOSSIL FUEL FOLLIES

2016-01-19-1453242285-4997816-methaneleakCalifornia2SourceEnvironmentalDefenseFundccr312.jpg
Methane Leak Has Residents Seeing Red like this infrared view of the giant leak, as new refugees from the neighborhood wonder when they will return. Source Environmental Defense Fund

OO A Single Gas Well Leak Is California’s Biggest Contributor To Climate Change

Related Headlines:

OO CA Gov. Jerry Brown Declares State Of Emergency
At Porter Ranch Amid Massive Gas Leak
– ordering new regulations, including stepped-up inspections and safety measures, for all natural gas storage facilities in California.

OO Gas Leak Will Cost SoCal Gas Billions

2016-01-19-1453242322-6432657-PorterRanchmethaneleaksparksprotestsSourcewww.laprogressive.comccr312.jpg
Gassed Residents Protest the Porter Ranch methane leak. Source http://www.laprogressive.com

OO No Short-Term Fix For California Methane Leak – it will take at least another 6 weeks.

OO The Company Behind L.A.’S Methane Disaster
Knew Its Well Was Leaking 24 Years Ago

OO Vermont Replaced Nuclear Power With Dirty Natural Gas – too bad they didn’t invest in solar and wind instead.

2016-01-19-1453242362-7125918-volkswagenclimatecartoonCreditTomTolesattheWashingtonPostccr312.jpg
Credit Tom Toles at the Washington Post

OO U.S. Files Lawsuit Against Volkswagen Over Emissions Trickery – what about climate denial trickery?

OO Fracking Shakes The American West:
‘A Millennium’s Worth Of Earthquakes’
in both Colorado and Oklahoma.

*
*

2014-07-06-populationmatters2green.png

If we do not grow sustainably,
Our children will die inhumanely.

Unintended Pregnancy Costs US Taxpayers: – And Climate by upping the climate changing consumption created by resulting unintended people.

Unintended Pregnancies Cost US Taxypayers Nearly $11 Billion Yearly
the Guttmacher Institute

Teen Childbearing Alone Cost US Taxpayers $9+ Billion In 2010
And the costs of raising a child usually ensures decades, if not a life, of poverty for its mother.
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

@@ How Parents Can Help Prevent Teen Pregnancy

*
*

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Help prevent unintended pregnancies in your community:
publicize where women can access affordable contraception.

2015-12-15-1450211150-3188590-larccontraceptivepostercoupleeyeslookingsidewaysmehccr307.png

They can go here to find locations:

2015-12-15-1450211215-359134-contraceptivealocationengineqrcode.png

And there are many more actions you can do, right here.

*
*
*

SOLAR KEEPS SURFING

2014-12-23-solarkeepssurfing2windsurfingatColvabeachsourcebeachesingoacomapr2012.jpg

OO New Efficiency Record of 29.8% For Solar Cell – yes, nearly 30% of sunlight is converted to electricity by a new dual junction cell, 2 fused upper and lower cells made from a gallium compound and silicon, respectively, at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

OO Google Helps Analyze If Rooftop Solar Panels Are Good Deal – to help people adopt rooftop solar.

OO Nevada’s Solar Job Exodus Continues,
Driven by Anti-Solar Policies

Related Headlines:

OO SolarCity Cuts 550 Nevada Jobs

2016-01-19-1453242400-8496430-solsourcesolarcookerandMasaiinKenyaSourceOneEarthDesignsccr312.jpeg
Solar Cooks Up in Africa with Solosource cookers. Source One Earth Designs

OO Solar Stoves Solves Largest Environmental
Health Problem Worldwide
– that is, indoor air pollution from traditional stoves in poor home worldwide. Takeaways:

  • the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, goal: 100 million households worldwide to cook cleanly by 2020.
  • the SolSource solar cooker collects and concentrates 92% of all received sunlight;
  • soon the company plans to offer a storage battery so food can be cooked during the night.

OO Selling Solar Power on the Street:
the Mobile Solar Kiosk
generates enough solar power on a mobile kiosk that people can sell the power to charge phones, recharge batteries, and more, in Africa! And they hope to create mobile wifi spots next….

OO South Africa’s Developing Solar Landscape is driven by three factors: the worldwide drive toward renewable energy, a highly strained local electricity supply, and a steady drop in solar panel prices.

2014-01-31-geostellargetcleanenergy.png

Check it out here, right now!

*
*
*

WHY WE SHOULD ACT NOW: RISING RISKS

2016-01-19-1453242465-3159007-anomaltempjan192015ccr312.png

Daily Climate Change: Global Map of Unusual Temperatures, Jan 19, 2016

How unusual has the weather been? No one event is “caused” by climate change, but global warming, which is predicted to increase unusual, extreme weather, is having a daily effect on weather, worldwide.

Looking above at recent temperature anomalies, much of the US and the waters surrounding it are experiencing warmer than normal temperatures: although El Nino driven storms are bringing much needed rain to California, far more is needed to bring California out of drought.

Meanwhile, a warming Arctic is slowing down the polar jet stream, allowing Arctic weather to loop down into the eastern US. Expect more crazy and destructive weather under continuing climate change.

Much of the areas surrounding the North Pole are experiencing much warmer than normal temperatures – not good news for our Arctic thermal shield of ice. Hotter than usual temperatures continue to dominate human habitats.

*
*
*

2015-12-28-1451344420-5650759-climatechangebar570.png

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 WordPress.com 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!

Every day is Earth Day, folks, as I was reminded by this everlasting wild flower I photographed one spring in South Africa. Making the U.S. a global clean energy leader will ensure a heck of a lot more jobs, and a clean, safe future. If you’d like to join the increasing numbers of people who want to TELL Congress that they will vote for clean energy candidates you can do so here. It’s our way of letting Congress know there’s a strong clean energy voting bloc out there. For more detailed summaries of the above and other climate change items, audiopodcasts and texts are freely available.

We Californians (including the snails) love the liquid sunshine – now if only it could delivered on a timed release plan…
2016-01-19-1453242506-7474585-snailsonadaisyflowerChile2014DSCN4197.jpg

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

 

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Climate Change This Week: Climate Chaos, An Energy Revolution, and More!

Today, the Earth got a little hotter, and a little more crowded.

2016-01-11-1452555711-5246179-bizarrespiderHeteropodadavidbowieCreditOskar87jkatflickrccr311.jpg
One More Reason To Save Forests: The David Bowie Hunter, a spider newly discovered in the Malaysian highlands in 2015. Forests house fascinating forms of life. Credit Oskar87jk at flickr

Forests: the cheapest way to store carbon

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2016-01-11-1452555945-1739303-redtreesanrdeathfrdroughtpinnaclesNMSourceGregAsneratNewsweekccr311.jpg
The Dying Trees of Pinnacles National Monument, CA: Laser-imaged aerial map of the tree health of California’s forests after four years of drought. Color code: Red trees are severely depleted of water and at risk of dying if drought recurs.; yellow trees show drought stress. Source Greg Asner

OO California Drought Could Kill 58 Million Trees,
Greatly Reducing Future Water Supplies
– says a new study.

  • Their deaths will release stored carbon into the air, further fueling climate change.
  • Forest ecosystems will be destroyed, and so will a vital aspect of California’s water system: the mass storage of water by forests and their soils.

By threatening the world’s forests, humans ultimately harm themselves.

Related Headline:

2016-01-11-1452555990-5673546-CAdroughtdrytreesCreditLeahMillisatwww.sfchronicle.comccr311.jpg
What Drought Stricken Trees Looks Like, at Ground Level – drying and dying in California, along with the forests that store a vital part of the state’s water supply. Credit Leah Millis at http://www.sfchronicle.com

OO Study: 58 Million Dry California Trees Threatened By Drought – beneath the canopy of snow that recently blanketed California’s mountainsides are vast swaths of forest struggling to survive the drought.

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NATURAL REPERCUSSIONS

@@ Climate Change 101: Why Care?
What You Need to Know
– Bill Nye tells it all in five minutes

What Happens When You Add a Lot of Heat to the Planet’s Air and Water?

2016-01-11-1452556025-8380692-tornadodamageGarlandTXdec272015Sourcewww.usnews.comccr311.jpg
Not So Merry Christmas, Texas as a tornado wreaked destruction on December 26, 2015. Source http://www.usnews.com

OO Climate Chaos, Across The Map:
Ends 2015, Continues In 2016

2015 closed with:

  • tornado outbreaks in the US south, and high northeast Christmas temperatures
  • floods drowning cities in England
  • a string of weather anomalies worldwide

2016-01-11-1452556064-7977857-CaliforniafloodingSourcewww.esassoc.comccr311.jpg
Get Ready for More of This, California! Source http://www.esassoc.com

2016 will continue the chaos as:

  • heavy central US rain fuels major floods along the Mississippi
  • heavy rains start California flooding
  • South Africa’s drought threatens hunger for millions

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2016-01-11-1452556110-9477845-2015warmestyettemperaturegraphSourceNOAAccr301.PNG
2015 Was Hotter And Wilder By Far than previous record hot years. NASA

While the weather chaos is due both to accelerating climate change and the latest El Nino weather cycle,

  1. 2015 was warmer, by far, than the next warmest year on record, likely due to global warming
  2. resulting climate change makes extreme weather, such as heavy rain and heat waves, more frequent.
  3. globally warmed oceans are sending extra water into the air, in combo with the El Nino cycle.
  4. this extra water likely fueled the record number of 2015 Pacific typhoons and influenced heavy US southeast rains.

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2015-09-15-1442277605-5381443-extremeweatherbcompositedroughtheatwavestormwildfiremehccr290.png
All types of extreme weather are occurring worldwide simultaneously: droughts, heavy storms, floods, heat waves. Expect more, with continuing climate change.

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2016-01-11-1452556221-5463320-northpolestormcyclonedec2015Sourceearth.nullschool.netccr311.png

Polar Cyclone: This storm in the far North Atlantic is the same one that caused two tornado outbreaks and widespread flooding in the US. Now, it’s pushing North Pole temperatures well above average. Source earth.nullschool.net

OO Freak Storm Pushes North Pole 50 Degrees Above Normal To Melting Point – a powerful winter cyclone — the same storm that led to two tornado outbreaks in the United States and disastrous river flooding — has driven the North Pole to the freezing point this week, 50 degrees above average for this time of year.

OO Record-Breaking US Christmas Heat:
A Record Hot December For Hundreds Of Cities
– December’s second long and record-shattering mild spell, which peaked during Christmas Week, helped numerous cities shatter their record warmest December.

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2016-01-11-1452556267-7756966-Greenlandmeltingarcticmelting4.jpg
Imagine All Of Humanity Jumping Into The Sea and not getting out: that’s how much water is being added to the ocean from Greenland … every day! Sea rise in action.

OO Greenlandic Tipping Point:
Formerly Retained Melt Water Now
Gushes Into the Sea
– at the rate of 8,000 tons per second. The new ice that formed in the wake of a mass surface melt in 2012 is different: it can’t absorb meltwater like the previous old ice.

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2016-01-11-1452556330-2233503-beautifulsanibelislandSourcewww.findsouthwestfloridahomes.comccr311.jpg
Seashell Paradise: Sanibel Island, FL, renown for its beautiful shells, is a barrier island., many of which will be under water in 50 years because of climate change, says a University of Miami professor and expert on sea-level rise.

OO US Barrier Islands Could Be Unlivable In 50 Years as a rising sea drowns them, says a sea rise expert.

OO UK Record Flooding:
The Latest Symptom Of Both El Nino And Climate Change
– a report from its national meteorological agency concludes.

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2016-01-11-1452556388-6984661-puffinsCreditFeliciaWertatwww.feelgrafix.comccr311.jpg
Pretty Puffins are now at risk of extinction as climate change and fishing reduces its food sources. Credit Felicia Wert at http://www.feelgrafix.com

OO UK National Trust Survey:
Atlantic Puffins Threatened and More,
In Year Of Climate Confusion
showing how sunny winter, and wet and windy summer affected British flora and fauna in 2015.

  • Extinction now threatens Atlantic puffins and turtle doves, says the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
  • Frogs and toads in southern England suffered as many pools dried up over the spring.
  • there was a noticeable shortage of ladybugs, an important predator of crop pests.
  • jellyfish flourished.

2016-01-11-1452556445-9062508-amazonwildlifebluemacawbirdSourcepeoplesforum.infosouth_americahtmccr278.jpg
When The Amazon Goes, so will the Blue Macaw.

OO Amazon To Transition To Savannah Under Climate Change,
As World Loses “Air Conditioner”
says a new model that captures the diversity of responses of the Amazon to climate change. The giant forest recycles vast amounts of water into the air, as it stores a vast, slowly increasing amount of carbon. Those vast amounts of carbon will be released as this forest is lost.

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CLIMATE CHANGE COSTS

2016-01-11-1452556489-1380842-missouri2015floodingaevacuationSourcewww.kshb.comccr311.jpg
Source http://www.kshb.com

OO US 2015 Wintertime Floods Among Costliest Ever

Related Headline:

OO Rain Didn’t Cause the Recent Deadly Mississippi Flooding. We Did.

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2016-01-11-1452556556-9803518-poorskiinginFrenchAlpsSourceTDCccr311.jpg

OO Balmy Winter Hits French Ski Workers With Unemployment

OO Alpine Ski Resorts Hope Petting Zoos Will Make Up For Lack Of Snow– There’s almost no snow on sunny slopes in the northern Alps below 2,000 meters (6,570 feet); farther south the snow has melted at as high as 3,000 meters.

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FOSSIL FUEL FOLLIES

“…in terms of environmental impact [of the Aliso Valley methane leak] on the daily lives of thousands of people and cost, we’re talking about many, many, many billions, perhaps hundreds of billions of dollars when all is said and done here.”

— Cornell University professor of Engineering Anthony Ingraffea at Living On Earth

https://www.edf.org/embed/methane-counters

OO 2016: California’s ‘Staggering’ Leak Could Spew Methane For MonthsA leaking natural gas storage field continues to belch thousands of tons of methane into the air every week, causing health and climate concerns.

OO $2 Gas Is Not Having the Economic Impact Everyone Thought It Would The 2015 drop in oil prices has been like a $290 billion tax cut, roughly equal to a 1-2% across-the-board cut in federal income and payroll taxes. But the economy has not snapped back.

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2016-01-11-1452556595-4131631-frackingoilrigsoilindustryTDCccr311.jpg
The Forked Tongue of Big Oil: as it publicly claimed that climate science was too uncertain to guide public policy, it engineered its infrastructure to withstand future climate change. In the 1990s.

OO Big Oil Braced For Global Warming While It Fought Regulations

OO Magnitude 4.2 Earthquake Near Oklahoma City
Prods Call For More Fracking Restrictions

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2016-01-11-1452556660-7172710-sanfranciscocaliforniafogSourcebluxomestreetpost.comccr311.jpg
Fluffy SF Fog: So Beautiful, So Toxic Source bluxomestreetpost.com

OO The Toxic Chemical In San Francisco’s Fog: Mercury – from burning fossil fuel burning, mining and metal refining. It’s not a toxic hazard – yet: mercury accumulates in humans over time. How long do you plan to live in SF?

OO 58 Workers Laid Off At Montana Mine As Coal Industry Slumps in the largest US coal-producing region.

OO Poland: Government Chokes On Coal – as it tries to figure out how to save jobs as coal spirals towards bankruptcy.

2016-01-11-1452556694-1499952-PollutionoverChinaheadedforUScourtesySeaWiFxProjectNASAGoddardSpaceFlightCtrnORBIMAGEcctw92.jpg
China’s Pollution Should Concern US – since the US receives it 10 days after China produces it via winds. Lucky for us, China is starting to address it. Here is some headed our way. Source NASA

OO China To Suspend New Coal Mine Approvals Amid Pollution Fight and will continue to trim production capacity. The world’s biggest energy consumer struggles to shift away from coal as it grapples with pollution.

OO China Cracks Down On Coal Producers As Pollution Worsensmandating that domestic coal producers must cut output by 60 million tonnes in a bid to reduce oversupply and help fix the worsening pollution crisis.

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2016-01-12-1452556842-8137565-smogtrafficinShaoxingZhejiangprovinceChinadec2013credChinaDailycctw95.jpg

OO End Of Fossil Fuels Won’t Come Too Soon For Millions Breathing Toxic Air

OO Toxic Air Forces Delhi To Sideline Millions Of Cars and use more public transit. Delhi’s particulate matter 2.5 levels have averaged 153 in 2014, over 7x that of Los Angeles and over 3x that of Beijing.

OO As Drought Dries Up Hydropower,
Zimbabwe Turns To Fossil Energy
– let’s hope they develop clean energy soon, for everyone’s sake.

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GOOD CLEAN NEWS

2014-03-14-cleanenergybulb500solutionsideabulblead972x514viaclimateprogresscctw97.jpg

OO Wind, Solar Power Soar Worldwide,
Despite Bargain Prices For Fossil Fuels

Related Headlines:

OO Our Worldwide Energy Transformation in 2015

OO The Outlook for Wind and Solar After the Paris Climate Talks – wind and solar capacity could triple over the next 15 years.

OO Coal Glut, Renewables Make EU Power Cheapest in Decade – Record-low coal prices and increased wind and solar generation that pushed European power prices to their lowest in a decade may cause further declines in 2016.

2016-01-12-1452556891-8908449-windturbineflowerdaisiesSourcewww.pinterest.comccr310.jpg

OO Major Offshore Wind Operator Plans $9 Billion UK Investment by 2020

OO North Dakota: Utility Doubles Wind Generation Capacity in Power Portfolio

OO Electric Car Subsidies Are Hated by Economists because the cars are only as clean as the electricity that runs them. If the goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, policy ought to seek out the cheapest reductions firs — like a carbon tax.

GOOD IDEAS

2016-01-12-1452556926-8825736-eatingvegetablesdietSourceabcnews.go.comccr311.jpg
Source abcnews.go.com

OO 5 Ways To Be A Climate-Friendly Eater In 2016

  • eat foods that require little energy to produce
  • eat less meat
  • eat less food
  • choose organic
  • if vegetarian, try veganism

OO Oregon Program Aims To Push Clean Fuels
To Cut Global Warming
– aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by promoting cleaner fuels is a new step in a regional partnership.

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2014-07-06-populationmatters2green.png

If we do not grow sustainably,
Our children will die inhumanely.

@@ Myth vs Truth: The Huge Value of Contraception is an incisive, heartfelt recognition of the value of contraception by Sarah Brown, CEO, The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy

Unintended Pregnancy Costs US Taxpayers:

Unintended Pregnancies Cost US Taxypayers Nearly $11 Billion Yearly
the Guttmacher Institute

Teen Childbearing Alone Cost US Taxpayers $9+ Billion In 2010
And the costs of raising a child usually ensures decades, if not a life, of poverty for its mother.
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Help prevent unintended pregnancies in your community:
publicize where women can access affordable contraception.

2015-12-15-1450211150-3188590-larccontraceptivepostercoupleeyeslookingsidewaysmehccr307.png

They can go here to find locations:

2015-12-15-1450211215-359134-contraceptivealocationengineqrcode.png

And there are many more actions you can do, right here.

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SOLAR KEEPS RISING

2016-01-12-1452556999-4705816-solarpanelskysolarkeepsrising3Sourcesandiegofreepress.orgccr311.jpg
Source sandiegofreepress.org

2015 Headlines: Thanks for the Memories!

OO Solar Is Cheaper Than the Grid in 42 of the 50 Largest US Cities (80+%)
And a Better Investment Than the Stock Market

OO Cheapest Solar Ever: Austin Energy Gets 1.2 Gigawatts of Solar Bids
for Less Than 5 Cents per KW-Hr

OO UK: Solar-Plus-Storage Systems To Be Tested in London

*** Solar Visions ***

2016-01-12-1452557059-832821-solarroofstadiumJapanbyToyoItodragonSourcemotherboard.vice.comccr311.png
Solar Dragon Stadium in Japan designed by Toyo Ito. Its dragon-scale roof of 8,000 panels, is said to be enough to power up to 80% of the surrounding neighborhood. Source motherboard.vice.com

OO In the Future Your House Will be a Solar Panel with a solar photovoltaic thermal energy system on the roof and thin power-generating film on the windows.

OO Australia: Developer Aims To Put Entire Community Off-Grid – A sign of things to come for communities in Down Under?

OO Bad News For Australian Coal:
India’s Solar Surge May Slash Coal Imports
– Dramatic cost declines in solar power tenders in India have shaken up expectations on pricing for the renewable fuel.

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2016-01-12-1452557134-9432627-indiasolar620villageviaclimateparliamentatclimateparlnet.jpg

OO India’s Solar Power Capacity to Quadruple by March 2017 says its Energy Minister. The government is focusing on speed, skill and scale rather than subsidies to drive reforms and progress in the energy sector.

OO A Big Boost For Solar Rooftops In India: Subsidies

OO Electrifying India, With The Sun And Small Loans

2014-01-31-geostellargetcleanenergy.png

Check it out here, right now!

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WHY WE SHOULD ACT NOW: RISING RISKS

2016-01-12-1452557177-8891393-anomaltempjan112016.png

Daily Climate Change: Global Map of Unusual Temperatures, Jan 11, 2016

How unusual has the weather been? No one event is “caused” by climate change, but global warming, which is predicted to increase unusual, extreme weather, is having a daily effect on weather, worldwide.

Looking above at recent temperature anomalies, much of the US is colder than normal – except Alaska! – but the waters surrounding it are experiencing warmer than normal temperatures: El Nino fueled rains continue to reach California but not enough the relieve the drought, nor protect nearly 60 million trees threatened by it, as noted earlier in this column.

Much of the areas surrounding the North Pole are experiencing much warmer than normal temperatures – not good news for our Arctic thermal shield of ice. Hotter than usual temperatures continue to dominate human habitats.

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2015-12-28-1451344420-5650759-climatechangebar570.png

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 WordPress.com 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!

Every day is Earth Day, folks, as I was reminded by this Melaleuca flower I photographed one fall in California. Making the U.S. a global clean energy leader will ensure a heck of a lot more jobs, and a clean, safe future. If you’d like to join the increasing numbers of people who want to TELL Congress that they will vote for clean energy candidates you can do so here. It’s our way of letting Congress know there’s a strong clean energy voting bloc out there. For more detailed summaries of the above and other climate change items, audio podcastsand texts are freely available.

2016-01-12-1452557229-496584-DSCN9618Melaleucathymifoliaflower.jpg

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God Is Our Planet

The description of God changes through the prism of every human culture, but one profound universal similarity can be discerned among most cultures: God (one or many), holds dominion over the universe, including a tiny subset, Earth. God is an all-knowing entity, most logically explained by being universally imbued everywhere, and holds power over our survival. Beyond this common description, how can this universal entity of God be explained in a way relevant and valuable to humans?

2016-01-03-1451854787-4064875-eyeofgodhelixnebulaSourcewww.skyimagelab.comjan2016.jpgEye of God helix nebula, the name of which showcases humans’ yearning to see humans in nonhuman contexts, and to humanize God. Source http://www.skyimagelab.com, NASA

Although God may hold dominion over the universe, most of the universe is, in practical terms, not relevant to human existence. So let’s tackle the part of our universal God that is: our planet, of which, in terms of the planet’s history, we are a trivial part. Yet, during the geological blink of an eye that entails the entire history of human existence, we now have a significant effect within the envelope of water, air, and energy that we share with most life on this planet. And this is the crux of our current relationship with God.

2016-01-03-1451854912-8872271-atmospherelayersofEarthCreditImageSciencenAnalysisLaboratoryNASAjan2016.jpg
The Thin Blue Line – our atmosphere — that allows terrestrial life on Earth, is now being changed and heated by humans. The rippling consequences have even slowedEarth’s rotation: enough melted ice has increased the oceanic drag against this atmosphere to slow, slightly but measurably, the planet’s spin. Credit Image Science n Analysis Laboratory, NASA

2016-01-03-1451855013-1748253-extremeweatherbcompositedroughtheatwavestormwildfiremehccr290.png
We Act; God Reacts. Heating our atmosphere has extreme weather consequences not affected by our wishes and prayers.

This part of God, our planet, holds important insights into how God interacts with us. It is not simply as a mother, imputed by many cultures. Rather, how we treat God has consequences for how God treats us. Intentions and prayers, entities of human thought, are irrelevant to God. Actions are the coinage of our relationship with God. We act; God reacts with consequences tied to the physical constraints of our planet.

2016-01-03-1451855097-4734699-earthglobegreenafterNASApicccr264.png
A Relevant View of God is one that focuses our dependency on God for survival.

Implicit in this is the recognition that, although humanity comprises an infinitesimal part of God, God is not human: to suggest otherwise would greatly limit our ability to understand God. It would reduce God’s existence to a human construct. Indeed, the failure to understand God, expressed as mysteries in many religions through the millennia, may result from our innate but unrealistic yearning to believe that God has human characteristics.

A nonhuman God has implications so profound that many humans would likely refuse to recognize this God. However we may wish it to be so, though, God is not driven by human characteristics, such as emotions, or a human brain. God does not “give” or “take away”; God acts. “A sense of purpose” is irrelevant to God. God’s being, quite simply, is.

Yet, many important institutions and behaviors built around a humanistic God are unaffected by a nonhuman God. For example, irrelevant to God or not, prayers make us feel meaningful, hopeful, good, and secure — and boosting our morale is useful, so long as it does not create unrealistic expectations. We can still sing “God watches over me” and “God holds my hand” with equal warmth, but recognize that God’s “guidance” exists as consequences that result from our actions on our planet, our God.

2016-01-03-1451855180-4615540-churchchoirSourcecomvoicesonline.comjan2016.jpg
Praise God as you will, but recognize that God’s guidance is the consequences we see from our actions on our planet, our God. Source comvoicesonline.com

The shock and sadness of loss is also unaffected by this God, even as the question of “Why, oh Lord?” becomes irrelevant. As individuals, we value our lives, family, friends, and lifestyles, and are saddened by loss of any. But our feelings are important and even valuable to us, independent of God, because what they are, and how we respond, affect our individual survival and that of others.

2016-01-03-1451855280-7335401-whyohlordhumandevastationfromstormCreditCharlieRiedelatAssociatedPressjan2016.jpg
How Can We Prevent This? Becomes a much more relevant and useful question than “Why Oh Lord?” Credit Charlie Riedel at Associated Press

Understanding our planetary God also does not change our basic precepts of useful human ethics. The need to treat one another fairly and the ways to do so, as outlined in major religious texts, such as the Quran, the Bible and others, are unaffected. This is because such ethics describe the web of behavioral rules that maximize human collaboration, the most effective means of ensuring our survival as a species via actions that prevent damaging consequences. (Indeed, this is why economic equality is ultimately connected to healthy economies worldwide: greater equity ensures greater collaboration, which increases chances of survival.) This need fuels the evolution of religions worldwide.

2016-01-03-1451855337-5095008-handsarmsplanetcooperationcollaborationjan2016.png
A Very Relevant Part of God: Collaboration is what fuels the evolution of religions worldwide. Our planetary collaboration can determine our survival.

The beliefs of most major religions, often based largely on the interpretation of God’s “wishes” via “messages” to specific messengers (eg, Buddha, Christ, Mohammed), are also unaffected. Ultimately, those “messages” are vehicles for marketing and justifying the useful human ethics that maximize collaboration, and thus, endure.

2016-01-03-1451855473-7927964-prophetsofgodplanetbSourcebahaiteachings.orgjan2016.jpg
Even Good Messengers – And Messages – Get Misinterpreted, creating flawed ethics that undermine our survival.

Misinterpreting the messages of those messengers, however, has long been a source of flawed ethics, as illustrated by the conflicts developing among religions over the primacy or description of messengers, the reduction of equality within religions as they evolve, and the cults that reduce equality, collaboration, and survivability ultimately among people.

Now, the misapplication of one ancient religious message threatens our existence. Written when humanity was living well within its resource constraints and even endangered by competition or predation from other species, it is the biblical dictum to “be fruitful and multiply”, which, to this day, is still obeyed. An appropriate ethic to ensure human survival then, it is clearly an outdated one now. Continuing to follow it contributes to the deterioration of human survivability and ethics as conflicts result over diminishing resources.

2016-01-03-1451855567-4063505-bizarroeatfruitandmultiplypopulationcartoonCreditDanPiraroatwww.bizarro.comjan2016.jpg
Credit Dan Piraro at bizarro.com

Thus, our useful ethics remain unchanged but converge intimately with this God. We depend on God for survival, and how we interact with God affects our existence: this is the focus of our relationship with God. As defined by the physical limits of this planet, God’s provision for our species is finite. How our actions affect that provision does not affect God. God reacts to our changes in concert with the physical laws that describe God’s existence on Earth, even as those laws, from the sun to the planet’s geological depths, continue to change Earth. Actions comprise the language between God and us. As we overshoot our resources, there will be consequences — tragic ones for us, not God.

2016-01-03-1451855651-6954956-bacteriahand570indishCreditTashaSturmatwww.microbeworld.orgjan2016.jpg
Like Bacteria, Our Population Can Crash and Die if we refuse to acknowledge the limits within the web of life we live. Credit Tasha Sturm at http://www.microbeworld.org

In this light, those of our actions that decrease future survival of our species, and of other life upon which we depend, constitute the gravest sins and flawed ethics of our existence. The “God-given” evolution of our brains and concurrent development of knowledge allow us to understand the inexorable consequences of unbridled growth and consumption, by simply observing the growth and ultimate crash of a population of bacteria as it pollutes and uses up resources within the world of a petri dish.

Ignoring this basic knowledge results in consequences that constitute God’s reaction to our sins. By failing to address those consequences (decreasing resources, increasing hunger, pollution, climate change) we ignore their origins: our thoughtless explosion in numbers and consumption of resources.

2016-01-03-1451855716-3702943-couplehiking570withchildSourcewww.mthome.comjan2016.jpg
The Prayers That God Hears Are Our Actions that form the biggest legacy we leave our children. Source http://www.mthome.com

Stripping away the human characteristics that are often imputed to God can be extremely painful — but once done, it yields a far more relevant, useful and accurate understanding of God and our interactions. It also clearly delineates how appropriate actions, not intentions, will determine our survival.

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

 

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