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: The Coral Canary, a Windy US Future, and More!

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

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Another Reason To Save Africa’s Forests – its butterflies, such as these glass winged butterflies. Source http://www.zendegi993.blogfa.com

Forests: the cheapest way to store carbon

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Bizarre and Beautiful Congo Wildlife, which includes this red river hog, are declining due to failed conservation policies. Source http://www.sdzsafaripark.org

OO Congo, Africa: Rainforest Protections Aren’t Working
For People Or Wildlife
says a new report. Despite huge influxes of conservation money, eco-guards have been assigned to enforce a the total restriction on hunting and big reduction in farming on indigenous communities; human abuses have been reported. The result is furtive hunting to supply communities who distrust the guards, and a decline in wildlife.

OO Cambodia’s Forests Are Declining Due to Illegal Logging via corrupt government officials, the 2016 Goldman winner Ouch Teng has chronicled; it has also displaced nearly a million Cambodians who live in them.

When we harm forests, we harm ourselves.

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Save The Forest, Save Its Wildlife – such as this mountain bongo antelope in Kenya besides storing carbon. Source wikimedia commons

OO Kenya Aims To Reverse Deforestation, Plant 20 Million New Trees

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Source Mongabay.com

Hidden Trading in the Forest – despite all that leafy growth above, underground fungi can help trees exchange among themselves up to 40% of the carbon they sequester.

OO Underground Carbon Trade Among Tall Trees In A Temperate Forest – up to 40% of a tree’s carbon can be exchanged with its neighbors, researchers have found – probably via symbiotic root fungi, already known to exchange other nutrients among plants.

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THE PLANETARY CORAL CATASTROPHE: DANGEROUS CLIMATE CHANGE

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Christmas Island’s Coral Reef Dies – 80% of it is now dead, browned with algal growth, and much of the rest may not survive. Credit Kristina Tietjen

OO Why Dead Coral Reefs Could Mark
The Beginning Of ‘Dangerous’ Climate Change
– the devastating coral die-off suggests we may already be missing our climate goals.

The threshold of “dangerous” climate change – that is, the point at which climate is causing widespread, damaging, and likely irreversible events on Earth – may have been breached as massive coral die-off occurs around the planet this year.

In this case, the coral reef ecosystem could be a harbinger of further catastrophic ecosystem collapses to come.

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@@ The Great Barrier Reef Goes Deathly White as 93% of it experiences the worst bleaching in recorded history.

OO Climate Change Disables Coral Bleaching Protection On The Great Barrier Reef
Just 0.5 C (1 F) additional warming could see corals of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) lose their in-built tolerance to bleaching, a new study warns.

The GBR corals have developed a protective mechanism to adapt to sharp increases in sea surface temperatures in recent decades. But further increases in temperature may result in this tolerance being lost, which may speed destruction of the GBR.

Related Headlines:

OO Warming Threatens The Great Barrier Reef Even More Than Thought – the iconic reef depends on protective pulses of warm water to boost its heat tolerance. Climate change may eliminate these “practice runs” says a new study.

Bleaching, sparked by this year’s El Niño and worsened by global warming, has overwhelmed the reef—even in areas that had steeled themselves to the impact after earlier “practice runs.”

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Death Scene at the Great Barrier Reef – a rainbow of life reduced to white and brown. Source XL Catlin Seaview Survey

OO Great Barrier Reef Corals Could Collapse If Sea Temperatures Rise By 0.5°C, scientists warn. There, corals are likely to lose their ability to adapt with just half a degree of warming above current temperatures, already predicted to happen in the next 40 years on current trends.

A new analysis of 27 years worth of data shows corals are more prone to bleaching – and less able to recover once they pass that threshold.

OO This Year’s Severe Bleaching Of The Great Barrier Reef Is Only The Beginning as temperatures keep rising, denying corals any chance to even partially adapt.

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LATE BREAKING: OVER HALF OF AMERICANS BREATHE DANGEROUS AIR POLLUTION

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OO More Than Half US Population Lives Amid Dangerous Air Pollution, report warns.

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HOT NEWS

OO March Was Earth’s 11th-Straight Warmest Month On Record since recording began in 1891.

@@ 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 To Curb Climate Change, ‘We Need To Move Everything’ Sustainable investment experts say that to meet the goals of a new global agreement to tackle climate change will require:

  • social change on an almost unprecedented scale;
  • shifting trillions of dollars each year into renewable energy (2015: only340+ billion invested)
  • making everything from transport to agriculture and consumer products much greener very quickly

“We would each throw ourselves in front of a bus if it was coming at our child, regardless of our politics,” Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres, a U.S.-based business sustainability group, said.

“We have got to change this debate so people understand… climate change is that bus.”

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MELTDOWN

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The Deep Blue Canyon one of many melt formations on Greenland these days.Credit James Balog

OO Early Record Onset of Greenland Melt Season Stuns Scientists – in Greenland a record-breaking level of melt for so early in the season is occurring; the melt season has started nearly 2 months early.

Related Headlines:

OO Greenland Heatwave Triggers Record Early Start To Ice Melt Season

OO Greenland’s Melt Season Started Nearly Two Months Early

OO Scientists Are Watching In Horror As Ice Collapses – ice is disturbingly fragile, even in Antarctica.

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SEA RISE

THE BEGINNING OF THE US DELUGE

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OO Sinking Atlantic Coastline Meets Rapidly Rising Seas especially in North Carolinia, where a region several hundred miles long has coastal residents coping with severe changes that few Americans have yet to endure.

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Gone Forever to Our Grandchildren? Sea levels are rising fast enough so that the beaches you enjoy today may be gone forever to your grandchildren or great grand children.

OO This Is How Far Seas Could Rise Thanks To Climate Change Picture your favorite beach – or any beautiful beach. Got it? Now picture it gone. Forever.

This really hits me hard, folks, because I grew up near a beach: my happiest childhood memories were all those beautiful days riding the waves and walking the beach, collecting sea shells and other marine wonders. I became a marine biologist because of it.

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Credit Matthew Clayfield

OO Vietnam’s Lowlands To Submerge With Climate Change bank report says, and Ho Chi Minh City is one of the world’s 10 most vulnerable cities.

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How High, How Fast? Source http://www.washingtonpost.com

OO Since 1970, Carbon Pollution Has Driven Sea Level Rise predominantly; previously, it was mostly from natural causes.

“There are thresholds we could well cross during the 21st century, which would lead to multi-metre sea-level rise unless there is urgent and significant mitigation”, said John Church, a sea-level rise expert.

Related Headlines:

OO Carbon Pollution Seen As Key Driver Of Sea Level Rise – Greenhouse gas emissions became the main cause of sea level rise during the late 20th century, accounting for two-thirds of sea level rise between 1970 and 2005, says new research. Natural forces caused two-thirds of rises detected between 1900 and 1950.

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SPEAKING OUT

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OO Church Of England Uses Shareholder Power To Sway Oil Giant On Climate Change If the shareholder vote is won by the church, it will be the first climate change proposal approved by Exxon shareholders, who rejected a request last year to appoint a climate change expert to the board.

OO 100+ US Christian & Jewish Groups Call For More International Climate Funding

OO Environmental Groups Sue EPA Over Pollution From US Aircraft

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Tweet That, Climate Change Doubter! – NASA is ready to pounce when doubters on facebook start misrepresenting NASA’s stance on climate change. Credit NASA/GISS

OO NASA Smacks Down Climate Change Doubters In Facebook Discussion

OO 21 American Kids Sue Government Over Global Warming Inaction the 21 young Americans span in age 8 from 19.

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GENERATING POWER – BY WORKING ON THE RAILROAD

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OO “New” Technology Tackles Grid-Scale Energy Storage Mechanically:
Via the Railroad
– The idea is simple: the railroads use electricity to power their loads uphill – but they could give power back to the grid as those loads generate electricity going downhill. One company claims the efficiency of the system would be 85% – not bad!

A new startup has just been granted a “right of way” lease from the US BLM to build a 50 MW project based on this strategy. Depending on how you look at it, the project will make railroads more energy efficient, represent a new source of clean energy for the grid, and/or allow railroads to “store” energy via pushing a great weight uphill.

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SOCIAL REPERCUSSIONS

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Two Thirsty Giants – China and India risks facing severe water shortages due to a perfect storm of economic growth, climate change, and demands of fast growing populations by mid century. And they own nuclear weapons.

OO By 2050 Asia At High Risk Of Severe Water Shortages says a new MIT Study.

Daily Climate Editor Pete Myers notes: “Severe water shortages in a region with three countries possessing nuclear weapons. Not a good idea.”

AFRICA

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Drought, Dry Well, Dry Crops are driving hunger in Camaroon, on top of the terrorism that impedes farming. Credit Fajong Joseph Lereh

OO Camaroon: Boko Haram Violence, Climate Change Drive Hunger In North – Climate change is gradually rendering the traditional agricultural calendar unreliable, besides the danger of farming under the threat of guerrilla warfare.

OO Climate Change Hits Hard In Zambia, A Former African Success Story – which is now struggling to pay its own civil servants and has reached out to the International Monetary Fund for help.

OO Enduring Somalia Drought Puts Hundreds Of Thousands At Risk UN Warns. Although the severe drought in Ethiopia has made headline news. But it has also scorched northern Somalia, a region far less able to cope with the impact.

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OO Sierra Nevada Snow Won’t End California’s Thirst – climate change and the proliferation of trees have led to less of a natural reservoir of melting snow coming down the mountains.

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GOOD CLEAN NEWS

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OO US Rooftop Solar Panels Could Provide Nearly Half Of Our Power

OO A US Clean Energy Policy Pays Off:
Renewable Portfolio Standards Drive 60% of US Clean Energy Boom
– Most of the additional capacity to meet RPS requirements has come from wind, but in recent years, solar energy is gaining traction.

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OO Major US Midwest Utility Invests $3.6 Billion More Into Wind to become 85% powered by renewable energy.
We have a dream to deliver 100 percent renewable energy to our customers,” a MidAmerican Energy spokesman said.

OO Community Choice Aggregation
A Way To Create Clean Powered Communities,
Spreads to New York
– the 7th state to use this strategy.

States enact options for communities to bundle their purchase of energy from sources of their choosing.

This allows communities to use their bulk buying as a leverage to get the best price – of clean energy, if they so choose, and many communities are.

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Credit Mary Ellen Harte

OO Why Major US Companies Are Buying So Much Wind Power – it makes financial sense, argues Tom Kiernan, AWEA’s chief executive of America Wind Energy Association. “These corporations are buying because it’s affordable and it’s clean … This is a good business proposition for them.”

Who’s buying? Google Energy, Facebook and Amazon Web Services, as well as more traditional companies such as Procter & Gamble, General Motors, Wal-Mart and Dow Chemical, among others.

The U.S. wind energy industry had a memorable 2015, installing thousands of new turbines across the US and supporting a growing number of jobs.

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OO Paris Climate Deal Seen Taking Effect Two Years Ahead of Plan as many countries commit to officially agree to participate in the plan on Earth Day 2016. This increases the chances of meeting the pact’s ultimate goal of limiting the increase in global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) since industrialization began.

OO Ford Announces Massive Facilities Transformation
A Massive Energy Conservation Move
– relocating 30,000 employees into primarily two campus locations; it expects to cut energy use in half, in addition to reducing water use, and will include a new zero-waste, zero-energy, zero-water “sustainability showcase” building, which will produce more energy than it consumes.

That building will include geothermal heating and cooling and solar energy, and aims to meet Living Building Challenge standards, “the highest level of sustainability possible today” Ford said.

OO Japan’s CO2 Emissions Fall To Three-Year Low In 2014/15 Fiscal Year

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CLIMATE CHANGE LEADERSHIP

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OO Bernie Sanders Calls for National Fracking Ban“Do Washington politicians side with polluters over families?” asks Susan Sarandon in an ad. “They sure do, because Big Oil pumps millions into their campaigns. Bernie Sanders is the only candidate for president who opposes fracking everywhere.”

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GOOD IDEAS

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A Coal Tax Ex-Miners Could Like if the revenues help them transition to new jobs.Source http://www.bizjournals.com

OO Taxing Coal to Help Communities Taxed By Its Decline is an idea that could find traction.

OO How Your Toilet Could Fuel The Future Researchers have developed a battery that runs on urine: as part of breaking down waste, bacteria pull electrons off urine molecules, and then are forced to put them on a carbon electrode that siphons them off to generate electricity.

Now the researchers are working out how to scale this up.

People already mine methane out of waste to fuel vehicles, but this battery is a vast improvement: burning methane still creates emissions, and leakage of this potent climate changing gas into the atmosphere also detracts from its “clean” image.

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OO Game Theory Might Help Solve The Problem Of Climate Change – Applying the mathematical principle of studying models of conflict and cooperation between groups could help us rein in global warming.

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FOSSIL FUEL FOLLIES

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OO Texas Fracking Numbers Are Mind-Boggling,
But What The Frack
Do They Really Mean?
Environmental groups have analyzed the data and here are some takeaways:

  • 10 billion pounds of chemicals — many of them carcinogenic — were injected underground.
  • 120 billion gallons of water have been used since 2005;
  • 15 billion gallons of wastewater was produced in 2014;
  • at least 2.5 billion pounds of methane, a potent climate changing gas, were released just in 2014.

Had enough numbers? The take-home message: fracking is very expensive – for the Texans who have to live with the mess, and for the rest of humanity, who will have to cope with continuing climate change.

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Actually, Exxon KNEW They Were Charring the Earth… but greed won. Credit Tom Toles at the Washington Post

OO Just How Long Did Big Oil Know
The Fossil Fuel/Climate Change Connection? 50 Years
– new documents show CO2’s role in global warming has been on the oil industry’s radar since the 1960s.

OO Australian Oil And Gas Lobby Spent Millions
Advocating Against Climate Action
– spending almost $4 million last year trying to “obstruct” more ambitious climate change policy, a new report reveals. Why am I not surprised?

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Remind Me Why I Should Be Sad About Coal’s Decline… Credit Tom Toles at the Washington Post

OO Coal Slump Sends Mining Giant Peabody Energy Into Bankruptcy

OO The Bad News? Coal Is Being Replaced by Cheap “New Coal”:
Natural Gas
– financial analysts note that cheap and plentiful natural gas, and an oversupplied market of inexpensive coal – not environmental regulations – are the primary forces behind coal companies’ bankruptcies.

The really bad news is that natural gas, a very potent climate changing gas, is being released in significant leaks to the atmosphere when it is mined and distributed.

OO Natural Gas Undermines Progress in Tackling Climate Change – as new data indicates that the mining and distribution of this very potent climate changing gas leaks significantly large amounts of it into the atmosphere, at a time when it is crucial that cuts are made in the emissions of such gases.

Natural Gas = the “New Coal”

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ELECTION YEAR:

2016-03-08-1457470019-7186523-voteforclimateactionDIFyourfamilymehccr317.png

If You Don’t Vote For Climate Action, You Can Forget The Rest – in a climate-changing world of famine, drought, rising seas, giant storms and heat waves, there will be no security in jobs, health, wealth, or national safety. There will be chaos ensuing from increasing crises and disasters. Vote.

OO Global Warming Policies We Set Today Will Determine The Next 10,000 Years – of global warming, a new study shows — and whether our civilization survives or not: history shows that harmful climate change has destroyed civilizations before.

This time, it could be worldwide. Let’s keep “The Hunger Games“ in the realm of fiction.

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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 FLYING

2014-12-30-Solarkeepsflying500SolarplanethesolarimpulsecourtesyofSolarImpulse.jpg

OO Solar Impulse 2, The Solar Airplane,
Is Ready to Finish Its Round-the-World Flight
– having repaired the batteries fried from flying its longest leg, 5 days nonstop, from Japan to Hawaii.

OO Texas Solar Shoppers Seeing Lowest Prices in the US

OO French Solar Capacity to Nearly Triple by 2023

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2016-04-26-1461645128-8190023-breakingefficiencysolarrecordclearshibarSourcewww.wmh.com.auccr318.jpg

Another Record in Solar Cell Efficiency Is Made…

OO Another Solar Power Breakthrough by Hong Kong Polytechnic University, where researchers claim their hybrid solar cells can convert up to 25.5 % of solar energy, beating the previous record of 22.8 % set last September 2015.

OO Australian Utility Pairs Household PV With Large-Scale Storage

OO Solar Power Sets New British Record By Beating Coal For A Day – and soon it will be 2 days… every little bit helps.

2014-01-31-geostellargetcleanenergy.png

Check it out here, right now!

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WHY WE SHOULD ACT NOW: RISING RISKS

2016-04-26-1461645169-4382452-anomaltempapr252016.png

Daily Climate Change: Global Map of Unusual Temperatures, Apr 25, 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: El Nino driven precipitation to California has not been adequate to bring it out of drought.

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 incredible wildflower 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.

2016-04-26-1461645197-7318815-Geissorhizaradiansafricanflowerwildflower.jpg

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Climate Change This Week: Avoiding the Heat, All Weather Solar Cells, and More!

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

2016-04-20-1461183747-3534230-bizarrespinykatydidinsectYasuniNPEcuadorSouthAmericaPanacanthuscuspidatusSourcewww.pbase.comccr325.jpg

A Prickly Situation – this cartoonish katydid is found in Yasuni National Park, Ecuador (threatened by oil development – below); it illustrates the incredible biodiversity stored in rainforests, important carbon storage systems. Source http://www.pbase.com

Forests: the cheapest way to store carbon

OO Brazil: A Huge Carbon Sink
Even More Deforested — And Less Protected —
Than The Amazon
– is its savannah, the Cerrado; it has a huge “underground forest” of carbon-storing roots that are releasing huge amounts of climate changing gases as land is converted to farms. This, in turn, could help dry out the Amazon.

2016-04-20-1461183794-8642405-beautifulyellowparrotbirdSunConureparrotYasuniNPEcuadorSouthAmericaSourcewww.pinterest.comccr325.jpg

Hidden Gold in a Threatened Rainforest – this Sun Conure parrot illustrates the true treasures of the Yasuni Rainforest: its spectacular biodiversity. Source http://www.pinterest.com

OO Ecuador Drills For Oil On Edge Of
Pristine Rainforest And Biodiversity Hotspot
– Yasuni National Park is also inhabited by two of the last tribes in the world living in voluntary isolation.

2016-04-20-1461183829-851558-teaktreecloseupSourcewww.panoramio.comccr325.jpg

Leafy Teaks are farmed for their wood, and have very large leaves. Source http://www.panoramio.com

OO Super Carbon Storer in India: Teakwood – this wood has the highest capacity for carbon sequestration among the trees of India, and may be grown to help curb emissions in India.

When we harm forests, we harm ourselves.

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FIGHTING CLIMATE CHANGE, DOWN ON THE FARM

2016-04-20-1461183863-1630316-farmerfarmingNigeriaTDCccr290.jpg

Farming Changes Could Cut Climate Changing Emissions Substantially

OO Farmland Could Play Key Role In Tackling Climate Change if farms are motivated and able to change their farming practices, says a new study. Takeaways:

  1. Soil stores vast amounts of carbon;
  2. 30+% of agricultural carbon emissions come from soil;
  3. “climate-smart” soil management could reduce that, possibly substantially, keeping soil carbon stored;
  4. incentives could be developed to motivate farmers.

On the other hand, critics note:

  • Preserving forests is a far better investment: they store carbon AND vital biodiversity;
  • The expensive technology needed to significantly increase farm soil carbon storage is not accessible to most farmers;
  • Creating incentives will differ worldwide due to national politics and market forces.

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But even farming can’t fulfill the demands of a growing population….

2016-04-20-1461183892-1056094-greenagricultureworkerswfarmcropTDCccr325.jpg

OO Climate Change Will Limit Ability To Feed Humanity Soon – say scientists, and warning signs are already present. Takeaways:

  • global warming means mean more droughts, wildfires, soil depletion and seasonal changes -all bad for growing food;
  • some of these factors, such as changing rainfall patterns, are already occurring;
  • vital crop pollinators are declining worldwide, in part from climate change;
  • food demand keeps increasing along with population levels;
  • clearing more land for farming releases even more climate changing emissions;
  • industrial farming, needed to meet demand, also releases more such emissions,
  • and depends on fertilizers that deplete the soil, ultimately reducing production.

2016-04-20-1461183923-3526418-papuanewguineafrostsdroughtcropCreditJayLomuatCAREccr310.jpg

Resulting climate change will likely:

Reduce crop yields;
Create a malnutrition crisis;
Make large parts of the planet unable to grow core crops such as bananas and maize.

<><>

And…

2016-04-20-1461183961-3932760-soilheldinhandswplantNatashatfreeimagesrbdcctw98.jpg

OO Soil Crisis Brought About By Climate Change May Hit Global Food Production, claims alarming new research, which reveals that soil microbes, vital to soil fertility, appear to be far less adaptable to climate change than once thought.

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2016-04-20-1461183993-3421022-GreenEarthDayTip440mehccr325.png

April 22, 2016: Give A Real Earth Day Gift – help create a sustainable future: have one child*, or be child-free. It’s the biggest way you can personally cut carbon emissions and consumption. (* This is something I have done, by choice. MEH)

Other Tips – every day:

  1. help bring down unintended pregnancies in your community;
  2. vote for climate action at all levels of leadership;
  3. invest in clean energy, divest from dirty energy;
  • talk about it with your friends and family.
  • The food thing: less meat and calories means less waste and waist.

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CLIMATE-CHANGING FOOD WASTE

2016-04-20-1461184035-5512203-foodwasteonplatesSourcewaymagazine.orgccr325.jpg

Source waymagazine.org

OO Cutting Food And Carbon Waste-Lines For Healthy Climate – Reducing food waste and changing the way people consume calories will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a new study says. Takeaways:

    • up to 14% of emissions from agriculture in 2050 could be avoided by managing food use and distribution better to reduce waste;
  • as the average human diet increases in meat and calories, so does the contribution food makes to climate change;
  • food waste is likely to worsen in the future;

2016-04-20-1461184134-6847171-foodwastesourcebiocycle.netccr267.jpeg

Source biocycle.net

Cutting food waste could help several challenges at once:

  • reducing environmental impacts of agriculture,
  • saving resources used in food production,
  • enhance local, regional, and global food security;
  • Cutting meat and calories would benefit human health.

The good news? We can change – if we want to.

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GLOBAL WARMING SICKENING AMERICANS

2016-04-20-1461184167-1490702-heatwavedeathsPakistanbutnotjustPSourcewww.cnn.comccr325.jpg

More Americans Will Die From Heat waves as they increase and intensify, just one of many health risks from climate change, says a new study. Source http://www.cnn.com

OO Climate Change Sickens Americans:
Hearts, Lungs, AND Brains
says a new study, based on1,800+ published scientific studies and new federal research, and reviewed by the National Academies of Sciences.

A wide array of health issues will result, such as:

  • An increasing number, by many thousands, of annual premature deaths from heatwaves;
  • increasing mental health problems from the stress of extreme weather like hurricanes and floods;
  • as extreme heat causes more forest fires and increases pollen counts, resulting poor air quality is likely to up asthma rates.

2016-04-20-1461184208-2366337-uselessenergycutasthmaccr261.png

“Climate change poses a serious risk to human health and that is really the most important takeaway,” says US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy.

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YOU CAN ACT:

OO Ask World Leaders to Sign the Paris Climate Agreement on Earth Day: April 22, 2016

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EARTH IS TIPPING FROM GLOBAL WARMING

2016-04-20-1461184245-8688931-northpoledriftearthtippingviaclimatechangeSourceJPLabatNASAccr325.jpg

Shifting Water, Shifting Weight, Shifting Planet – as newly melted water redistributes its considerable weight around the Earth, it is also shifting the rotating axis of the planet. The North Pole has shifted dramatically eastward since 2000.Source JPLab at NASA

OO Global Warming Shifting Earth’s Polar Axis, says a new NASA study. Takeaways:

  • induced by global warming, climate change causes ice sheets to melt and changes land storage of water, (as affected by droughts) substantially shifting the sheer weight of water over the planet;
  • this weight redistribution has shifted the north pole sharply east from Canada towards England since 2000.

The shift shows:

  • how profoundly global warming is affecting our planet;
  • how intimately connected the planet’s poles are to climate variability.

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HOT NEWS

2016-04-20-1461184301-8768184-avoidoverheatingmehpsaccr325.png

A Hot Idea, especially for seniors and children.

OO The US Is Experiencing Its Third Warmest Year-To-Date through February.

OO Historically Hottest Summers To Be Normal
For Over Half The World’s Population — Within 20 Years!
a new study projects, even under a moderate emissions scenario.

The Mediterranean, Sahara, large parts of Asia and the Western US and Canada will be among the first regions for which hot summers will occur on average every other year. Invest in bikinis…

<><>

2016-04-20-1461184474-4091806-ArcticthermalshieldTheangleofsunlightcombinedwithalbedofromseaicehelpskeepthepolescold.ImageNASA.jpg

Whether From Clouds or Earth, Ice Reflects Sunlight Away – so if clouds have less ice than once thought, they will reflect less sunlight, and global warming will be worse than thought. (Image, NASA)

OO Global Warming May Be Far Worse:
Clouds May Not Cool Global Warming
as much as once thought, says a new study.

Analysis of satellite data revealed that:
many clouds have more liquid – and thus fewer ice crystals to reflect sunlight into space – than once thought.
This smaller “heat shield” means our carbon emissions will be trapping more heat from more incoming sunlight.
one climate change analysis indicates this might mean a further 2+ F warming.

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MELTDOWN

2016-04-20-1461184553-625944-stormDSCN0722a_resize.jpg

OO Meltdown: More Rain, Less Snow As The World Warms – Takeaways:

  • a greater percentage of US winter precipitation is falling as rain,
  • with potentially severe consequences in western states which depend on snowpack for water,
  • and across the country wherever there is a winter sports economy.

OO West Antarctica Might Melt Far Faster than once thought, suggest new studies on the physics of ice melt, and this could rise seas by over 6 feet by 2100, flooding many coastal cities, says climate scientist Michael Mann.

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2016-03-08-1457470424-588916-brokemoneybagsmonopolyman370Sourcetheredpillnews.blogspot.comccr288.jpg

OH-OH, WHERE DID ALL THOSE TRILLIONS GO???

OO Climate Change Will Wipe $2.5 Trillion Off Global Financial Assets by 2100, says a new economic study, and could soar to a wipeout of $24 Trillion, or 17% of the world’s assets, in a highly unlikely worse case scenario.

Suddenly, limiting warming to 2 C (4 F) makes a lot of financial sense – this would save over $300 Billion of those assets.

BUT Mark Campanale (Carbon Tracker Initiative) says:It could be a lot worse.The loss of financial capital can be a lot higher and faster than the GDP losses.

Just look at the value of coal giant Peabody Energy. It was worth billions just a few years ago and now it is worth nothing.”

Related Headline:

2016-04-20-1461184587-4857028-dirtyassetsmoneystormSourcejoshschoenly.comccr325.jpg

Climate Change Could Kill Assets – wiping out trillions in value. Source joshschoenly.com

OO Study Warns Wall Street of Assets at Risk From Climate Change which may wipe out $2.5 trillion, or nearly 2% of the world’s financial assets, by 2100, if the planet continues to warm at its current rate, says the new study.

More:

OO Bloomberg Climate Taskforce To Target Financial Filings – Led by Michael Bloomberg, the heavyweight taskforce recommends that climate risk information should form part of companies’ routine financial filings.

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CONTINUING CORAL CATASTROPHE ALARMS SCIENTISTS

2016-04-20-1461184629-4883463-coralbleachinggraphicmodifiedCredittheUKGuardianccr322.png

Credit the UK Guardian

OO Over a Third of World’s Coral Reefs Under Death Watch due to a mix of global warming and strong El Nino weather cycle that has stressed many corals to the breaking point, say US NOAA scientists.

1000+ km of the Great Barrier Reef are showing signs of significant bleaching – that is, corals dying.

Related Headline:

2016-04-20-1461184707-9551419-coralbleachinggreatbarrierclimateshifts.org.png

Ghosts of the Great Barrier Reef – white dead and dying corals now significantly whiten over 1,000 km of this magnificent ecosystem. When the corals go, so does much of the rest of the marine life there.

OO Climate-Related Death Of Coral Around World Alarms Scientists

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CLUELESS LEADERSHIP

OO Cities Battle Their Own States Over the Clean Power Plan – as cities see the real beginning effects of climate change, they want the plan to succeed. But 27 states are fighting the plan in court.

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GOOD CLEAN NEWS

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

OO Global Renewables Grew At Fastest Rate On Record In 2015, expanding 8+% to nearly 2,000 GW globally, says the International Renewable Energy Agency. “Falling costs for renewable energy technologies, and a host of economic, social and environmental drivers are favouring renewables over conventional power sources,” said the agency’s director general.

OO Obama’s Clean Power Plan Amassing Broad Support

OO Ikea Wants To Run On 100% Renewable Energy – An increasing number of big businesses including Google and Mars are opting to get their power from renewables, helping the planet and their profit margins.

OO Hey, Bill Gates, Our ‘Energy Miracles’ Are Already Here – The transformation from a fossil fuel-based global economy, to one that is powered by a decentralized mix of renewables is happening far faster than anyone anticipated.

US WIND POWER – AND JOBS – KEEP SURGING

2016-04-20-1461184784-2147820-windpowerdeliverspublichealthbenefitsSourceAWEAccr325.jpg

Source AWEA

OO Home Grown American Wind Power Keeps Blowing – as the U.S. Wind Industry Annual Report, Year Ending 2015 shows. US Wind Power:

  • now supports a record 88,000 well-paying American jobs; a 20% growth rate in 2015 alone;
  • was the largest source of new electric capacity in 2015;
  • avoided 132 million MT of climate changing CO2;
  • prevented enough pollution to create7+ billion in public health benefits;
  • benefits rural areas especially.

2014-05-16-moneybagsgreenmrviaforcechangecomcctw92.jpg

OO Banks Pledge $7 Billion to Scale Up Clean Energy Investment

OO World Bank To Spend Nearly 30% Of Investments On Addressing Climate Change

OO A Billionaire Investor Joins Republican Clean-Energy Push – Julian Robertson is backing a campaign to push the party’s candidates to support clean-energy policies.

2016-04-20-1461184864-5279305-peoplelookingupconcernedSourcewww.flickr.comccr301.jpg

OO Florida Poll: 75% Of Floridians Concerned About Climate Change

OO US And Canada Move To Curb Methane Emissions
Meeting represents one of the last chances to grow on climate partnership agreed on by Justin Trudeau and Barack Obama before U.S. president leaves office.

2016-04-20-1461184940-8749581-UnitedNationsFlagsgoogleccr269.jpg

Nations United On Climate

OO Many Nations Seek Rapid Ratification Of Paris Climate Deal,
To Lock It In for 4 Years
before a change in the White House next year that might bring a weakening of Washington’s long-term commitment.

OO 35 Countries Cutting The Link Between Economic Growth And Emissions-says an International Energy Agency analysis. The US, the UK, Germany, and several smaller economies are on the list; China, India and Russia are not. Some of the smallest countries have done the most to reduce their carbon emissions.

OO Israel To Cut Carbon Emissions, Sees $8 Billion Economic Boost – Israel’s cabinet unanimously approved a plan for reducing greenhouse gases and increasing energy efficiency to benefit the economy.

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SOCIAL REPERCUSSIONS

2016-04-20-1461185003-905817-liftoffatKennedySpaceCenterSourceabcnews.go.comccr325.jpg

Lifting Off As Launching Pad Submerges – the space launch site will be flooded by rising seas within this century. Photo Source abcnews.go.com

OO NASA Is Facing A Climate Change Countdown as Kennedy Space Center and other NASA facilities near coastlines are facing the prospect of continually rising waters.

OO Drowning History: Sea Level Rise Threatens US Historic Sites

OO UK: 57 Subway Stations At High Risk Of Flooding says a new report.

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GOOD IDEAS

2016-04-20-1461185042-7925139-mosquitotrapovillantawmosquitoPhotoDanielPineloccr325.png

World’s Answer to Zika: A New Mosquito Trap dubbed the ovillanta, it’s fashioned from old tires and nearly 7 times better than conventional ones. Photo Daniel Pinelo

OO Fighting The Zika Virus With Junked Tires – as climate change enables the spread of Zika carrying mosquitoes, researchers have developed an improved mosquito trap. Fashioned from old tires, it holds a dark cool pool of water infused with a nontoxic mosquito attractant, and paper floating on the surface.

Mosquitoes lay eggs on the paper as they mark the water with female pheromone, letting other mosquitoes know the water is safe. The paper is changed and the water is filtered for larvae, then returned to the trap, where the pheromone infusion attracts further vicitims. Sneaky, huh?

OO Fight Acidifying Oceans Locally: Clean Up Pollution and plant aquatic grass that removes CO2 from water, and revise water quality rules to help clean up pollution, says a new report.

2016-04-20-1461185073-422352-allweathersolarcellforrainsunwgraphenelayerCreditAngewandteChemieInternationalEditioncourtesyofResearchSEAccr325.jpg

The All-Weather Solar Cell, Rain or Shine has a layer of graphene that allows the cell to generate electricity when raindrops hit it. Credit Angewandte Chemie International Edition, courtesy of ResearchSEA

OO New Graphene Layer Could Let Solar Cells Generate Power When It Rains– creating cells that are triggered by sunlight and raindrops, say Chinese researchers in a new report.

OO With New Tools, A Focus On Urban Methane Leaks

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FOSSIL FUEL FOLLIES

2016-04-20-1461185106-8774350-sunsetoncoalSourcewww.coalisdirty.comccr301.JPG

OO As Coal Goes Bankrupt,
Taxpayers May Have To Finance The Cleanup

OO The Death Of US Coal: Industry On A Steep Decline As Cheap Natural Gas Rises

OO Working For US Coal?
Better Have A Backup Career
as Wyoming miners found out: after decades of work, they were laid off, without enough help to find other work.

2016-04-20-1461185170-2495358-USoiladdictionCreditNateBeelerattheWashingtonExaminerccr325.gif

Credit Nate Beeler at the Washington Tribune

OO US Fossil Fuel Addicted State Economies
Now Suffer Withdrawal Symptons
– especially in Alaska, where oil has declined; in Wyoming, dependent on coal; and in North Dakota, as the gas boom has gone bust.

OO Australia: Coal Mining Does More Harm Than Good, Say Majority In NSW

THE METHANE MESS

2016-04-20-1461185203-8273763-alisocanyonmethaneleakSourceedf.orgccr325.png

Pretty…. Bad Methane Leaks – 100s of them, have been found via infrared photography in a flyover of 8000+ oil and gas well pads in Pennsylvania. Source edf.org

OO Pennsylvania: Researchers Find Hundreds Of Methane Leaks – and as the state’s natural gas expands so will the leaks.

OO Southern California Braces For Summer Blackouts Due To Big Gas Leakas the large methane leak forced the shutdown of nearby wells until they could be inspected, creating a fuel scarcity.

OO Wyoming: Scientists Find Fracking Contaminated Water after the EPA halted its study of it. Whoops.

POLLUTION PROBLEMS PROPAGATE

OO Mexico City Doubles Driving Ban As Pollution Persists from the heavy smog generated by burning fossil fuels.

OO Canada: Latest Keystone I Leak Raises More Doubts About Pipeline Safety

OO Australian Electricity Emissions Surge 5.5% Since Removal of Carbon Price

2016-04-20-1461185269-9085232-belizeworldheritagethreatenedcoralreefprotectsCreditAntonioBusielloatWWFGuatemalaccr325.jpg

Offshore Oil Development Threatens This World Heritage Coral Reef – in Belize, as if the current worldwide coral bleaching event – ultimately caused by burning oil and other fossil fuels – wasn’t enough. Credit Antonio Busiello at WWF-Guatemala

OO Half Of World Heritage Sites Often Threatened By Fossil Fuel Development, says WWF, as well as by illegal logging, and mining. WWF urgedcompanies to obey UN appeals that all heritage sites should be “no go” areas for oil and gas exploration, mines, unsustainable timber production and overfishing.

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ELECTION YEAR:

2016-03-08-1457470019-7186523-voteforclimateactionDIFyourfamilymehccr317.png

If You Don’t Vote For Climate Action, You Can Forget The Rest – in a climate-changing world of famine, drought, rising seas, giant storms and heat waves, there will be no security in jobs, health, wealth, or national safety. There will be chaos ensuing from increasing crises and disasters. Vote.

OO Global Warming Policies We Set Today Will Determine The Next 10,000 Years – of global warming, a new study shows — and whether our civilization survives or not: history shows that harmful climate change has destroyed civilizations before.

This time, it could be worldwide. Let’s keep “The Hunger Games“ in the realm of fiction.

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*

2014-07-06-populationmatters2green.png

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.

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 SURFING

2014-12-23-solarkeepssurfing2windsurfingatColvabeachsourcebeachesingoacomapr2012.jpg

OO Are You Paying Too Much For A Rooftop Solar System? If you’re thinking about pulling the trigger on a rooftop residential solar system, don’t be afraid to drive a hard bargain with an installer.

OO The US Will Overtake Japan as the World’s No. 2 Solar Market in 2016

OO New Jersey: Navy Plans 227-Acre Solar Farm

@@ “Catching the Sun” Profiles Solar Energy Entrepreneurs and Activists in this
winning documentary, and shows that solar not only wins as clean energy but as a job creator. Fast paced and fluid, it shares the excitement of this burgeoning bright industry worldwide.

OO SolarCity Raises $300+ Million for Commercial Solar and Energy Storage,
Plus Residential

2016-04-20-1461185305-7175637-solarpanelswlivestocksheepfarmSourceus.sumpower.comccr325.png

Source us.sunpower.com

OO Solar Power More Lucrative Than Crops at Some U.S. Farms and worldwide, as solar and wind developers in North America, Europe and Asia seek more flat, treeless expanses to build. It’s also a boon for struggling U.S. family farms that must contend with floundering commodity prices.

“There is not a single crop that we could have grown on that land that would generate the income that we get from the solar farm,” said one farmer.

OO Mexico’s First Clean Energy Auction: 1,860 Solar MW Won at $50.7 per MWh ensuring that solar power will grow 500+ % in Mexico in 2016.

OO Kenya: SkyPower to Give Away Millions of Solar Kits – to boost the growth of off-grid solar, even as it develops other solar projects.

2014-01-31-geostellargetcleanenergy.png

Check it out here, right now!

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WHY WE SHOULD ACT NOW: RISING RISKS

2016-04-20-1461185366-9896175-anomaltempapr202016.png

Daily Climate Change: Global Map of Unusual Temperatures, Apr 20, 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 El Nino storms, California drought conditions persist.

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, audio podcastsand texts are freely available.

2016-04-20-1461185413-7024979-Californiaflowerpoppy2mar152014.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: Seas Rising 6 Feet By 2100, Xeroxing Solar Panels, and More!

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

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Bizarre Beautiful Jewels of the Forest are another reason to preserve forests, as these US death’s head caterpillars illustrate. Credit Eigor Siwanowicz

Forests: the cheapest way to store carbon

OO Climate Change Is Drying US Mountain Watersheds decreasing the supply of clean reliable fresh water to regional populations. Changes in tree cover and mix of species are the main immediate causes behind a declining yield since the 1970s.

When we harm forests, we harm ourselves.

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Not A Rainforest, But It Feeds One – Brazil’s Cerrado system sends moisture to the Amazonas; destroying it helps dry the Amazon rainforest, a crucial climate moderator. Source http://www.nature.org

OO Brazil’s Savannah: A New Tropical Deforestation Hotspot – the Cerrado, second largest ecoregion after Amazonas, is being lost to agriculture at an alarming rate. This could dry the water cycle of the area – and that of the Amazon, which receives moist clouds from the Cerrado.

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Don’t Mess Up My Future is the message these kids want to send to the US government, hoping to encourage action on climate change. Credit Our Children’s Trust

OO You Can’t Wreck Our Future, Kids Say
— And Judge Says They Have a Case
– allowing them to sue the federal government over climate negligence.

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OO The Enormous Carbon Footprint Of Food We Never Even Eat – new research suggests wasted food is a major source of greenhouse gases.

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BIPOLAR MELTDOWN — AND RISING SEAS

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Modified Image, Paul Nicklen at National Geographic Creative

OO Arctic Sea Ice Extent Breaks Record Low For Winter Takeaways:

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Going, Going … Credit Natacha Pisarenko at AP

  • A record expanse of Arctic sea remained as open water this winter;
  • Snow and ice experts now believe the Arctic is locked onto a course of continually shrinking sea ice:
  • scientists now expect the Arctic to be entirely ice-free through the summer within 20 or 25 years:
  • “climate changes are happening even faster than we had forecast,” said climate scientist Michael Mann.
  • Since first recorded in 1979, Arctic ice has decreased every decade by an area bigger than California.

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Losing Our Planetary Thermal Shield … that is, losing the summer Arctic ice cap, will accelerate global warming: darker waters absorb far more solar heat, under a 24-hour polar sun, than the ice they replace.

Meanwhile…

OO Sea Levels Now Projected to Rise 2 Meters By 2100,
Due to Antarctica Melting
says new research, a doubling of previous estimates, IF climate changing emissions continue to grow over the next several decades.

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Captured From Space: A Monumental Antarctic Collapse Source NASA

Other takeaways:

  • Antarctic ice cliffs are far less stable  than thought;
  • huge collapsing ice cliffs in Antarctica could add 1 meter of sea level rise alone;
  • by 2500 sea levels could rise by 13 m from this;
  • previous UN assessments did not include this important process.
  • This study culminates a large body of prior research.

A 6 foot sea rise “could spell disaster for many low-lying cities,” said the study’s lead author.

Related Headline:

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Not Just Antarctica – the fronts of glaciers are collapsing worldwide. Credit Knut Christianson

OO Antarctic Model Raises Prospect Of Unstoppable Ice Collapse -sea levels could rise by more than 15 metres by 2500 if greenhouse-gas emissions continue to grow.

OO Scientists Nearly Double Sea Level Rise Projections For 2100
Because Of Antarctica
if carbon dioxide emissions continue unabated, an outcome that could devastate coastal communities around the globe, says new research.

OO Climate Catastrophe, Coming Even Sooner? Yet republican presidential candidates are not addressing it, and it gets little attention from democratic candidates.

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PREDICTING US HEAT WAVES WEEKS AHEAD

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When Will the Next Heat Wave Hit? Sometimes, the ocean can tell us.

OO Scientists Find a Way to Predict U.S. Heat Waves
Weeks in Advance
– Deadly summer heat waves in the eastern US may be predictable nearly two months before they occur; research shows that the occurrence of a distinctive pattern of water temperatures across a wide stretch of the North Pacific Ocean is significantly correlated to such heat waves. Advanced warning could help farmers, utilities and big cities prepare for hot weather.

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OH-OH, WHERE DID THAT $1 TRILLION GO?

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OO $1 Trillion Could be Wasted on ‘Unneeded’ New Coal Plants says a new report, if the 1500 coal plants planned worldwide go unused due to upcoming climate and pollution curbs. Much of that new construction would be in Asia.

Meanwhile, a new Oxford study finds that new coal and gas plants can be built only for one more year, if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change.

Related Headline:

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Investments To Avoid: Oil and Gas

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GOOD CLEAN NEWS

RENEWABLES BANDWAGON GATHERS STEAM

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Source: Bloomberg New Energy Finance/UNEP Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2016.

OO Seven Charts Show How Renewable Investment Broke Records In 2015

OO Europe: The Shifting Renewables Landscape – Takeaways:

  • Wind and solar power has benefited from decades of engineering and financing improvements;
  • In sunnier European locations, onshore wind and solar are the cheapest source of electricity;
  • Battery technology needs to improve for wind and solar to compete with nuclear and gas;
  • Burning trees as biomass is coming under increased European scrutiny.

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OO Nearly 40% of US Electricity Could Come From Rooftop Solar

OO New Consumer Preferences For Clean Energy
Are Now Impossible to Ignore
, say utility executives.

OO A Big US Utility Starts Integrating Clean Energy

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Credit Sigtryggur Ari at Reuters

OO America’s Big Data Centers Are Going Green – upping energy efficiency through switching to LED lighting, and especially creating far more efficient cooling strategies.

OO DOE Agrees To Involvement In Clean Line Transmission Project – partnering with a Houston company to develop a $2.5 billion wind energy superhighway from the Oklahoma Panhandle to the southeastern United States.

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OO China Pushes Mandatory Integration Of Renewable Power throughout the country to connect all the renewable power it produces to its grid.

OO UK: 400+ Churches Plan to Switch To Renewable Energy for their light and heat. Bless you, all!

OO India Aims To Become 100% E-Vehicle Nation By 2030 – the government is developing a scheme to provide electric cars on zero down payment for which people can pay out of their savings on expensive fossil fuels… and if the cars are fueled with electricity generated from the great solar power plan underway there, that will really be great news: a car is only as clean as what fuels it.

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US, CHINA, INDIA TO SIGN CLIMATE TREATY

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OO United States, China to Sign Paris Accord – The world’s two biggest greenhouse gas emitters called on other countries to sign the accord “with a view to bringing the Paris Agreement into force as early as possible.”

OO India To Sign Paris Climate Change Accord following news that China and the US will sign the Paris climate agreement this year. The move by the world’s top three emitters increases the likelihood that the agreement will become operational by the end of 2016.

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CONFRONTING FOSSIL FUEL COMPANIES ON MISLEADING PUBLIC

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OO Climate Fraud Investigation Of Exxon Draws Attention Of 18 Attorneys General – the coalition vows to hold fossil fuel companies accountable for their conduct on climate change in misleading investers and the public.

Related Headline:

OO Exxon Mobil Climate Change Inquiry Gains Allies – 17 attorneys general are cooperating on probes into whether fossil fuel firms misled investors, and have joined an alliance that will press for urgent climate action on multiple legal fronts.

The group “just declared war on big polluters”, says Climate Progress.

And…

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modified, Credit Pat Bagley at the Salt Lake Tribune

OO Thirty Years Of Climate ‘Deception’ Could Become Offense Under New California Law – by extending an existing law’s statute of limitations to 30 years, the new legislation would expose fossil fuel companies like Exxon to greater liability.

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COAL CONTINUES ITS RETREAT

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OO Wall Street’s Retreat From King Coal – as a consensus grows that it is a bad investment, is a fact that republican senators would do well not to ignore, says this New York Times editorial.

Now when will Wall Street learn to do the same for natural gas, the “new coal”?

OO Coal Price Hopes Fade Amid Reality Of Slowing Asia Demand – China’s plans to limit increases in total energy use and cut coal’s share of the mix by 1 percentage point translates into a cut of 20% of its coal imports.

AND EMISSIONS DECLINE…

OO UK Emissions Lowest Since The 1920s As Renewables Overtake Coal

Related Headline:

OO Rapid Decline Of Coal Use Leads To Drop In UK Emissions of carbon dioxide by 4% in 2015, and by 22% since 2014.

OO Europe’s Carbon Market Emissions Dip For Fifth Year 0.4 % may sound small, but it’s a lot of emissions.

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NATURAL REPERCUSSIONS

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Bye-Bye Birdie? Migratory birds, like this blue cerulean warbler, don’t change their migratory schedule, while spring starts far earlier due to global warming. This means weary migrants arrive too late for much of the food resources needed to fuel their reproduction.

OO Climate Change Is Affecting Nature’s Spring Ballet – As spring comes earlier with global warming, and migrant birds do not, the mismatch in resources is bad news for migrants wanting to breed.

Furthermore, loss of migratory rest stops and nesting habitat will fuel even further decline in many dwindling songbirds — a Silent Spring Rachel Carson could not have predicted.

Related Headline:

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Climate’s Changin’ and So Are the Birds like this European wren, which is increasing in the north as winters become milder, but decreasing in southern parts of its range. Credit Steve Willis

OO Climate Change Impacts Populations of the Most Common Birds says a new study that used 30 years of field data gather by birdwatchers to back up predictions created by models.

Related Headline:

OO Bird Populations Respond As Predicted To Climate Change On Two Continents says a new study.
Despite very different population sizes and ecological conditions, birds on both sides of the Atlantic respond in a predictable way to climate change. Populations increased in species that were expected to do well while in those predicted to suffer, numbers declined.

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Nice, But Not Enough – the current snowpack in California’s Sierras isn’t enough to erase several years of drought.

OO California: Sierra Snowpack Improves,
But Not Enough To Kill Its Drought

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GLOBAL CORAL DIE-OFF CONTINUES

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An Undersea Garden of Ghosts – has replaced a formerly vibrant colorful reef on the Great Barrier Reef. Credit XL Catlin Seaview Survey

OO Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Hit By ‘Worst’ Bleaching – with 95% of corals from Cairns to Papua New Guinea now severely bleached, scientists are calling for the Great Barrier Reef to be officially classified as threatened. Climate change and El Nino are behind the rise in sea temperatures, with “in the water” reports of up to 50% mortality among bleached corals.

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When The Reef Dies, So Do Many Beauties such as this sea slug found on the Great Barrier Reef. Source theverybesttop10.com

OO Link Between Fossil Fuels And Great Barrier Reef Bleaching via global warming “is incontrovertible,”says an expert.

OO Global Warming, Super El Nino, Drive
Worst Recorded Die-Off In Great Barrier Reef
along the northern third of this massive ecosystem, as both factors created record hot water temperatures, fatally stressing corals.

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A Threatened Delicious Maine Treasure – Lobsters bring happiness to diners and state economists alike.

OO A Warming Threat To Maine’s Lobsters – The water in the Gulf of Maine is warming rapidly, a change that could bring a once-rare lobster disease further north.

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SOCIAL REPERCUSSIONS

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Sneezing Yet? As climate change continues, pollen production is predicted to rise – as well as the numbers of people allergic to them.

OO Pollen Overload: Seasonal Allergies To Rise In A Changing Climate – from the already millions of people suffer from seasonal allergies triggered by airborne pollen—not just in spring but in summer and fall, too.

OO Drought Cuts Output Of Zimbabwe’s Top Export Earner Tobacco – what a good time to switch to a better crop.

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Mother To Many Might Be Dying – the Ganges River levels are receding. Credit Cameron Conaway at pulitzercenter.org

OO India Facing Its Worst-Ever Water Crisis – Takeaways:

  • The flow of the legendary Ganges river is receding;
  • Declining monsoons have led to lower levels;
  • reckless extraction of already contaminated groundwater is another factor;
  • a water pact with Bangladesh forced a big temporary diversion.
  • low levels have forced power plant closures;
  • village wells are drying up, forcing migration to cities;
  • conflicts over water will grow.

OO Asian Countries Could Experience Widespread Water Shortages by 2050 – as increasing population, climate change, and increasing consumption rates converge to dry up Asia.

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SPEAKING OUT

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OO What If You Invite a Climate Denying Politician to Your Meeting?
Tips On Talking With Politicians
– from a professional communicator who successfully got a politician to act on climate and conservation:

  • Attend town halls or ask for a meeting. “come prepared to give your best elevator speech on each subject. Be brief, be powerful, be impassioned, and quote facts and statistics.”
  • Invite a local lawmaker to speak at one of your chapter meetings, then promote it maximize attendance, showing how many people care deeply about the issue.

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  • Begin building bridges early. “Contact your local representatives not only on issues that have legislation pending, but [also] on issues you care about, just to get it on their radar.” When they hear about it again, they will recognize it as a pressing issue.
  • Be polite but persistent. It also doesn’t hurt to ask how you can help support the lawmaker’s priorities, that you support.

“Above all, get involved. Those who oppose your views and threaten what you value certainly do. And even if you get booed . . . something good might come of it.”

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Not On My Land, Thanks! Credit Enbridge Energy

OO Georgia: Property Rights Outcry Stops Billion-Dollar Pipeline Project that would pump gasoline and diesel fuel across the Southeastern United States. This resulted from an unlikely coalition of Republican legislators, private property owners and environmental organizations.

OO Canada: Raise The Carbon Tax, British Columbia Businesses Say -Nearly 140 businesses are raising their voices.

OO California Lawmakers Urge Calpers To Divest From Exxon – Two California Democratic congressmen urged the California Public Employees Retirement System, the largest U.S. public pension fund, to divest from oil giant ExxonMobil. Reuters.

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CLUELESS LEADERSHIP

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Someone You’d Seriously Trust? Source joemiller.us

OO Trump’s Recklessness on Energy illustrated by his extreme plan to virtually eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency, created by a Republican president, and supported bipartisanly.

OO Trump, Cruz Vow To Undo Several Climate Actions
And Block Future Ones
– especially those resulting from the Obama’s work. Gee, thanks, guys!

OO Ted Cruz’s Climate-Denial Hearing
Attracts Cash From Coal King

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OO Fossil Fuel Investors Are Pumping Millions of Dollars Into Hillary Clinton’s Campaign
While her rival, Bernie Sanders, who does not have a super PAC spending on his behalf, took in just over $35,000.

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GOOD IDEAS

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The “Fingerprints” Of Sea Level Rise – a new computer modeling method links changes in glaciers, ice sheets, and continental water storage to relative sea levels worldwide. Bluer areas, near Greenland, reflect a loss of ice mass, counterintuitively* resulting in a sea level drop. In redder areas, sea levels are rising faster than global-mean rates. This map shows the linear trend in sea-level change and covers the period from 2003 to 2015. Image courtesy Surendra Adhikari, JPL, NASA

*it’s all about gravity: as ice sheets shrink, their decreasing mass decreases the gravitational attraction of water to them.

OO New Computer Model Links Glaciers, Global Sea Level in a new method that combines models of ice, ocean, atmosphere and solid earth to help create a global picture.

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First, Printed Solar Cells; Next … Source http://www.inside3dp.com

OO A Xerox Machine for Super Solar Panels – Researchers say they’re developing a new digital printing process that could make it much cheaper to mass-produce concentrated solar photovoltaic systems. Such systems can dramatically increase the efficiency of solar cells by using lenses to concentrate and focus the sunlight onto small cells. It would also bring down costs.

OO Connecticut: Smart Homebuyers Are Searching For Solar
“Solar is the new granite countertop.”

OO The Cheapest, Fastest Global Warming Fighter:
Energy Efficiency!
– Obama’s administration has been successfully framing policies this way, winning hearts and minds with dollars and cents.

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OO Baja California: Tiny Mangroves Hold Vast Stores Of Carbon helping to slow global warming, despite being far smaller than forests or mangroves elsewhere, scientists have discovered.

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FOSSIL FUEL FOLLIES

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The English View Credit Mac Cartoon at http://www.dailymail.co.uk

OO 7 Million US Americans At Risk From Fracking Earthquakes says the US Geological Survey in a new report. Researchers have tied earthquake surges in eight states, including Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio, Kansas and Arkansas, to oil and gas operations.

OO The U.S. Is A Big Oil Importer Again after oil companies lobbied successfully to lift the US ban on exporting oil.

OO Japan Embraces Coal
As Rest Of World Tries To Cut Emissions
– Scotland just became coal-free. England said it will be coal-free in the next decade. The United is tamping down on coal the Clean Power Plan. Even China has made announcements signaling they are dropping coal.

Hey, Japan – Get with the plan!

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Coming Soon to Another Part of Beautiful Australia – another globally destructive, climate changing giant coal mine. Source flickr.com

OO Australia Grants India Company Go-Ahead For Thermal Coal Mineinfuriating conservationists and traditional owners, even as 2 court challengesremain unresolved.

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ELECTION YEAR:

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If You Don’t Vote For Climate Action, You Can Forget The Rest – in a climate-changing world of famine, drought, rising seas, giant storms and heat waves, there will be no security in jobs, health, wealth, or national safety. There will be chaos ensuing from increasing crises and disasters. Vote.

OO Global Warming Policies We Set Today Will Determine The Next 10,000 Years – of global warming, a new study shows — and whether our civilization survives or not: history shows that harmful climate change has destroyed civilizations before.

This time, it could be worldwide. Let’s keep “The Hunger Games“ in the realm of fiction.

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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.

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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 SMILING

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OO Massive California Solar Plant Now on Pace to Meet Goal

OO Europe Company Launches Battery Solar Storage in Australia

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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, Apr 12, 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 an improved snowpack, much of California remains in drought.

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, which hit a record low this winter. 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 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.

2016-04-12-1460488403-8959176-DSCN7729Irisdouglasianaflowerbeheadedbutalive570.jpg

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

 

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Feel Inspired Right Now: Meet the Goldman Award 2016 Heroes

The Goldman Awards reward those brave Davids that fight corporate Goliaths worldwide, trying to preserve their homes and communities from unjust, destructive development, and important ecosystems that benefit all of us.

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This is what binds our heroes this year: recognizing that all the money in the world doesn’t amount to a hill of beans compared to the health of their lands and communities.

Each of them worked with community organizations that helped realize their victories.
Each has helped your family and mine, by fighting climate change through prevention of toxic emissions and protection of their carbon-storing homelands.

Here are their stories, and all could use your help. But even if you can’t, hear their stories, and get inspired!

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OO Destiny Watford , student, 20*, USA: Cleaning Up Our Community

“Our system is failing us, and our planet.”

* >>> Destiny is the youngest person ever to win this prestigious award. <<<

The Problem: A planned toxic incinerator in her already heavily polluted community. Energy Answers, International marketed it as a clean energy project, turning trash into energy – ignoring the resulting toxic pollution.

What Destiny Did:

  • At 16, she started mobilizing community opposition, going door to door;
  • convinced customers who planned to use the incinerator to withdraw their contracts;
  • 4 years later, she helped deprive the company of the financial incentive to build.
  • Showed that communities can choose not to be dumping grounds.

Moving Forward:

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Past, Present… Future? “We can change the fate of our community.” Working withUnited Workers, she led an effort to stop the incinerator… now she envisions a solar farm.

Destiny’s Vision: establish the largest solar farm on the east coast at that site, owned by chemical company FMC. How about it, FMC? How about some truly clean renewable energy?

In the meantime, join Destiny and United Workers to demand that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stop subsidizing trash-burning incinerators.

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OO Maxima Acuna, subsistence farmer, 49, Peru, Fighting For Our Land

“Mining must leave our country.”

The Problem: Colorado-based Newmont and Peruvian Buenaventura companies own a giant open pit mine in Peru’s highlands; it has already destroyed nearby homes and lakes, and now the companies want to expand it – and destroy hers.

What Maxima Did:

  • Refused to be bought out;
  • Mobilized community protection of the surrounding lakes;
  • Despite being beaten and her home burned, she fought the companies’ eviction in the courts;
  • won her court case after 2 years, effectively stalling the mine.

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Fenced But Free and Fighting Maxima and her community continue their struggle.

Moving forward:

  • Maxima continues to fight harassment by the company, which has surrounded her property;
  • her community has rallied behind her;
  • they continue to defend their land, water supplies, and people from large-scale gold mining.

Maxima’s Vision: protect her home and community. You can help here.

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OO Leng Ouch, investigator, 39, Cambodia: Defending Our Forests – Our Home

“What is the government thinking when they destroy the livelihoods of millions of people?”

The Problem: most Cambodians rely on the forests as their home. But corrupt government officials have illegally evicted 300,000+ Cambodians, letting companies destroy their homes as they log precious timber to supply Chinese and US furniture demand, and plant cash crops.

The few corrupt rich benefit through the poverty of many thousands.

What Leng did:

  • at great personal danger*, went undercover to document the corruption;
  • showed that the country was losing150 million daily to illegal logging;
  • brought his results to the press, which exposed the corruption;
  • ultimately shamed by the exposure, the government cancelled 23 logging concessions.
  • in saving these forests, Leng has also done humanity a service in fighting climate change.

*Environmental activism is enormously dangerous in Cambodia, where activists are murdered and intimidated. Ouch has had to hide at times, and his family has been intimidated by the military police.

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From Poor to Empowered Leng rose from foraging paper off the streets to do his schoolwork to a leading crusader for his peoples’ forests and communities, by exposing the corrupt system of illegal logging in Cambodia.

Moving forward:

  • This victory inspired forest communities to take up the fight;
  • Communities now patrol their forests daily for illegal activities.
  • Leng continues to work to prevent illegal logging in Cambodia.

Leng’s Vision: the government should completely stop logging concessions to private companies, and revoke all land concessions throughout Cambodia. Sign the petition to Save Cambodia’s Embattled Forests. You can further help here.

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OO Edward Loure, Public Activist, 44, Tanzania – Defining What Is Ours

The Problem: Lack of legal documentation has let the Tanzanian government sell off 150,000+ acres of land of the Maasai and Hadrabe, traditional protectors of their environment and wildlife, to commercial hunting, tourism and farming interests, destroying sustainable livelihoods, and harming lands.

What Edward did:

  • Used an innovative approach to legally document land rights:
  • applying an individual land rights legal rule at the community level;
  • helped communities map their boundaries and create land use plans;
  • helped secure 200,000+ acres of tribal lands;
  • helped the Hadrabe people negotiate payment for sequestering carbon in their forests.

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Building Bridges Across Communities Edward spent years building trust in other tribes in his work to help all of them preserve their lands.

Moving Forward:

  • inspired other tribes to use his approach;
  • is helping to secure almost 1,000,000 more acres of tribal lands.

Edward’s Vision: that his success will draw more awareness of, and support for indigenous land rights in Tanzania. You can help here.

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OO Luis Jorge Rivera Herrera, Environmental Planner, 43, Puerto Rico –Preserving a Rare Coastal Wonderland

The Problem: Puerto Rico’s government’s plan to develop one of its last pristine coastlines, a biodiversity hotspot home to nearly 900 types of flora and fauna, many endangered.

What Luis did:

  • raised community awareness, by showing how the development would destroy this rare place;
  • formed a community coalition to fight the development;
  • initiated a legislative act to protect the area;

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Understanding the Big Picture Luis fought beyond defeat to victory in preserving this piece of nature.

Luis then:

  • turned a legislative defeat into widespread public outcry;
  • ultimately succeeded in getting permanent government protection;
  • currently is managing, unpaid, the preserve itself.

Luis’ Vision: Raising funds to purchase private parcels remaining within the preserve over the next 8 years, a condition vital to its legal protection. Ultimately, he hopes to develop sustainable tourism there that will help finance its management.You can help here.

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OO Zuzana Caputova, public interest lawyer, 42, Slovakia – Cleaning Our Communities Through Public Awareness

The Problem: loose government laws have allowed companies to create toxic waste dumps and industrial projects in villages across Slovakia. One woman, an environmental lawyer, is now stopping that.

What Zuzana did:

  • filed injunctions to close an old toxic landfill in her town;
  • filed petitions to stop a new toxic landfill;
  • encouraged the residents to organize;

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She also:

  • showed how the toxicity boosted leukemia rates there;
  • inspired a 6,000 strong demonstration, convincing officials to stop the project.

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Moving Forward:

  • since 2014 helped 9 village stop a waste gasification plant, and similar projects;
  • drafted an amendment to Slovakia’s Construction Law, the source of harmful waste disposal.
  • The amendment gives villages a larger voice in waste disposal projects.

Zuzana’s Vision: giving all Slovakian village governments and the public a larger voice on allowing toxic waste disposal projects near them. You can help here.

You can find out more about the winners and the causes they spearhead here.

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These profiles in courage illustrate that for every human being who falls in the protection of our lives and lands, others stand to take their place. In this spirit, we honor Berta Cacares, Goldman 2015 Award winner, who was brutally murdered just recently in Honduras. Her daughter continues her work.

You can honor her by signing the petition calling for the pull out of financing for the planned Agua Zarca Dam, which threatens her beloved community and river; you can support her legacy here.

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Berta Caceres, 1972- murdered 2016 – mother, protector, crusader

@@ Berta Caceres: hear this incredibly eloquent and brave woman speak of her land and people.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Climate Change This Week: Rising Seas and Super Storms, Solar Gets Cheaper, and More!

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

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Forests: Important To Our Life Cycles as they conserve our land, our climate, and sources of drugs, foods, and materials. Credit Eco Suparman

Forests: the cheapest way to store carbon

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Credit Rhett Butler at mongabay.com

OO Conservation Giant Puts $100 Million Into Amazon Protected Areas – the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation will focus on increasing forest reserves, leveraging more conservation funding, and supporting policies that protect forests as part of land use plans.

OO China: Forest Conservation Program Shows Proof Of Success – catastrophic flooding from deforestation was a big motivation to reverse forest loss, and the government acted.

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Credit Rhett Butler at mongabay.com

OO 10 Facts About Forests For International Forest Day

Forests cover about 30% of Earth’s land – but that’s decreasing:

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Going, Going … We still lose vast areas of forests yearly. Source Mongabay.com

  • an estimated 15+ billion trees are chopped down yearly, out of a global total that ranges in 100s (possibly 1000s) of billions;
  • forests have been almost halved in the past 12,000 years – mostly by us, and we’re doing so much faster, mostly in the tropics, now that we number in the billions.

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Credit Rhett Butler at mongabay.com

  • Most deforestation is due to agriculture and livestock production, logging, and forest fires.
  • Wildfires are increasing to clear forests, or due to manmade climate change, which degrades forests and creates hotter drier climates that make more wildfires likely.

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Source Mongabay.com

Forests store MASSIVE amounts of carbon, and are important to us because:

  • they help maintain good moderate temperatures far beyond their borders;
  • help maintain rainfall and weather patterns;
  • reduce erosion and run-off into rivers,
  • stem drought and flood cycles,
  • and provide critical habitat for millions of species.

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Protection Payback – preserving their Amazon forest is simply home maintenance.Source pinterest

Some of the best protected forests are those inhabited by indigenous people.

The encouraging news is:

  • Forests are recovering in some countries, as people recognize their importance.
  • Forests are better monitored than ever before, via satellites, and online monitoring plateforms.
  • One- eighth of global forests are managed for biodiversity protection – but we need far more protected forests to ensure a healthy human future.

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Threatened Visions of Paradise – the forests of Papua New Guinea is home to several species of Birds of Paradise. Source Cornell Lab of Ornithology

OO Corruption Threat To Pacific Island Forests – as illegal logging flourishes in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, creating harmful environmental and social impacts.

OO Taking Action:
France Imposes New Palm Oil Tax
– as Indonesia and Malaysia, where illegal deforestation for palm oil production is rampant, protest.

When we harm forests, we harm ourselves.

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LOOMING LOSS OF COASTAL CITIES?

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OO Famed Climate Scientist James Hansen
Warns ‘Loss Of All Coastal Cities’
– as the lead author of a new major study indicating sea levels could rise much faster than previously predicted. Takeaways:

  1. As ice sheets melt, the water forms a layer over surrounding ocean.
  2. This water causes oceans to retain extra heat.
  3. This heat melts the underside of fringing ice sheets,
  4. Speeding the melting of the ice sheets.

Ice Melt and Super Storms – could create an irreversible future that would destroy the world’s major cities within the next century – our children’s and grandchildren’s time. Is this what we want to leave them?

  • All this added water could slow, then stop key ocean currents,
  • Crucial for distributing heat around the planet.
  • 2 unusually cold blobs of water off Greenland and Antarctica may be the start of this.
  1. This would create far bigger temperature differences between the tropics and North Atlantic,
  2. Driving far bigger “super storms” than any we’ve seen.

“All hell will break loose in the North Atlantic and neighboring lands,” he says.

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A separate study says…

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A Watery US Future? Source http://www.hastingstribune.com

OO Sea Level Rise Could Flood 13 Million Americans By 2100
Especially the South
– think North Carolina, Florida, Virginia, Louisiana — and California.

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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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HOT NEWS

WE’RE NOT SWITCHING TO CLEAN ENERGY FAST
ENOUGH TO STOP DANGEROUS WARMING

OO As Temperatures Spike,
New Doubts About Holding Warming To 2 Degrees C
– New analyses suggest we’re still not switching to clean energy fast enough.

Related Headlines:

OO Earth Crushed Temperature Milestones This Winter,
Edging Closer To Climate Guardrail

OO Beyond Record Hot, February Was ‘Astronomical’ and ‘Strange’ and ‘staggering’ said US federal scientists as they struggled to convey just how bizarre the heat was.

OO Australia: Record Temperatures For March
A Warning Of What’s To Come
say experts, if Australia doesn’t act immediately to combat climate change.

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A Catastrophically Common Sight – many cattle are dying due to drought in Africa.

OO Drought, High Temperatures
‘Leaves 36 Million People Across Africa Facing Hunger’
as an unusually strong El Niño, and record-high temperatures, has had catastrophic effects on crops and rainfall across southern and eastern Africa.

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OMINOUS ARCTIC TALES

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When The Caribou Leave the art remains, carved in whalebone and caribou antler by Inuit Artist Ross Flowers at http://www.spiritwrestler.com

OO Dramatic Warmth Threatens Everything
In an Inland Arctic Town
“For the elders in the community, they’ve seen the entire ecosystem change.” People have survived on salmon, caribou, moose, wild berries, and growing their own food, but now:

  • Caribou have practically disappeared;
  • Salmon are few, far smaller, and often show sores;
  • Rivers run brown, not clear;
  • New plants and animals are changing the land.

OO Food Insecurity: Arctic Heat Threatens Coastal Indigenous Life – as the ice disappears and soaring temperatures alter the life cycles and abundance of their prey, a growing number of indigenous communities are facing food shortages.

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THE CLIMATE CHEAT SHEET

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Extreme Weather Is Just the Beginning… there will be far more fallouts as climate change worsens – famine, floods, desperate migrations, civil unrest… meantime…

OO Short Answers to Hard
Questions About Climate Change
– for the longer answers and more questions, go to the source.
For now, here’s a sampler :

1. How much is the planet heating up? 1.7 degrees is actually a big amount.

2. How much trouble are we in? For future generations, big trouble. [MEH: and lots now.]

3. What’s the worst-case scenario? There are many.

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Clean Tech Helps – but is just a slice of the solution pie that will dramatically slow climate change. Credit Jean-Paul Pelissier at Reuters

4. Will a tech breakthrough help us? [presumably this refers to physically manipulating the climate]
Even Bill Gates says don’t count on it, unless we commit the cash.

5. Why do people question climate change? Hint: ideology.

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CUTTING POLLUTION NEEDS TO ACCELERATE:
FIRST CUTS WILL AID WARMING

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The Double Edged Sword – air pollution from fossil fuels kills people but has also help cool the atmosphere slightly. As we cut pollution, the decreased cooling will slightly aid global warming initially – which means we have to cut climate changing emissions even faster than thought.

OO Europe: Cuts In Air Pollution Have
Boosted Arctic Warming By 0.5C
– since the 1970s, a new study suggests, as the cooling effect from particulate pollution wore off; cutting pollution dramatically is needed, however, to stop the rise of climate changing gases in the atmosphere, the dominant force behind Arctic warming and global warming.

A similar effect might happen as China cuts pollution…

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Source AFP via Getty Images

OO China Is Responsible For 10% Of Human Influence On Climate Change a new study says, over the entire industrial era. Cutting some types of aerosol, in a much-needed bid to improve air quality, could drive faster warming in the coming decades.

OO China’s Changing Economy:
Carbon Emissions Will Likely Slow
– and may peak well before 2025, a new study suggests, as the economy undergoes major transformation towards more sustainable growth.

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SPEAKING OUT

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OO Record Surge In 2016 Temperatures
Adds Urgency To Climate Deal, Say Scientists
– to curb greenhouse gas emissions to slow climate change.

“I think even the hard-core climate people are looking at this and saying: ‘What on Earth’?” a director at the U.N.’s World Meteorological Organization, said of the leap in temperatures.

“It’s definitely a changed planet … It makes us nervous about the long-term impact.”

Scientists say global warming is causing more powerful downpours, droughts and rising sea levels.

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Let’s Keep This a Cartoon … Credit Chan Lowe

OO Community & Pentagon Opposition Helps Sink Offshore Drilling:
Obama Stops Plans To Drill Off Southeast Us Coast
– nearly a hundred coastal communities voiced their opposition.

OO New Orleans Mayor Urges Louisiana To Recognize Climate Change Threat

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Source http://www.cbc.ca

OO Prime Minister Trudeau:
Addressing Climate Change Is An ‘Incredible Opportunity’ For Canada
– as he noted his plans to implement policies in Canada to help tackle climate change recently.

“The opportunity to invest in green tech and renewable energies is where the world is going, and Canada can either be dragged along by it, kicking and screaming, or we can choose to lead it”, he said.

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GOOD IDEAS

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Saved By Micro Hydro Power – the forests of Hunza Valley, Pakistan, are returning.
Source tribune.com.pk

OO Pakistan: River Power Cuts Mountain Forest Loss, Disaster Risk – Small-scale hydropower plants, built with US and private support, are providing power in remote, off-grid areas.

No longer chopped for firewood, mountain forests are regrowing, anchoring the soil, and preventing catastrophic flooding and mudslides during monsoon season.

Women are freed from hours of daily foraging for wood, and children can study beyond sundown with the new power – just a few of the vast social changes resulting from this new power.

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OO UK: Chancellor Urged To Invest Public Money In Renewable Energy – as a new analysis shows that investing in clean energy is cheaper than the current subsidy regime, which the current government says is too expensive.

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1000+ Cities Worldwide Have Public Bike Sharing Programs and the number continues to grow. Credit Russell and Alexandre Meddin at http://www.bikesharingmap.com

OO Taiwan: Taipei’s Bike-Sharing Program Transforms Commuting

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NATURAL REPERCUSSIONS

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Just Barely Getting By – European fire salamanders have been slammed by a fungal disease. Credit Aah-Yeah at Flickr

OO Fungal Diseases Are Surging,
Threatening Species Worldwide
From the chytrid fungus in frogs to white-nose syndrome in bats to rattlesnakes and salamanders, and more is to come. But why? Global ecological stresses, including climate change, might be key.

“Fungal diseases tend to infect people with compromised immune systems,”Elizabeth Kolbert explains. “So are we seeing globally compromised immune systems in wildlife, and is that giving fungi an opportunity?”

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This Is Not Snow Damage to parts of the Great Barrier Reef has worsened; authorities have raised the alert to the second-highest level, indicating severe local coral bleaching. Courtesy of Oregon State University

OO Severe Coral Bleaching Worsens
In Most Pristine Parts Of Great Barrier Reef

Related Headline:

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Credit the UK Guardian, modified

OO Climate Change Will Lead To Deformed And Virus-Hit Coral Reefs – The more CO2 goes into the air, the more goes into oceans which are acidified by it. Although some heat can lessen the acid effect on corals, too much heat, as many corals are now experiencing, can kill corals.

Coral will become deformed from rising oceanic acidity, and increasingly fall victim to outbreaks of herpes-like viruses as humans continue to pump carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, according to two new studies.

Combined, the two effects suggest coral reefs will have trouble recovering from bleaching events like current ones worldwide.

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Credit Andrew Warren

A New Butterfly – And Climate Sensor is the newly discovered Tanana Arctic butterfly, the only endemic Alaskan butterfly known. Sensitive to climate changes, butterflies like this can help scientists determine how much climate change is affecting their habitats.

OO What Can A New Alaskan Butterfly Teach Us About Climate Change?

GOOD CLEAN NEWS

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OO Doubling Renewables By 2030 Could Save $4.2 Trillion — YEARLYworldwide, by bringing the share of renewables in the global energy mix up to 36%, research shows.

OO US Firm Has Found A Way To Salt Away Electricity, Literally SolarReserve says. The ability to store electricity at an affordable price is the treasure sought by utility engineers and financial wizards.

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Fossil Fuels Are Not Vital to Our Economy – as this graph shows: no growth to overall emissions as the world’s economies grew. But even such growth is unsustainable – we need to measure sustainability, not growth, as a sign of a healthy economy.

OO The Economy Is Growing, But Carbon Emissions Aren’t.
That’s a really big deal.
Clean energy and energy efficiency are having an effect.

OO Even as America Builds More Buildings,
Electricity Use Continues to Drop
– 2015 marked the 5 times in 8 years that electricity consumption dropped.

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American Voters Are Getting Concerned – now will they vote for leaders who will act? Public concern about climate change is at a new high, as the U.S. emerges from its warmest-ever winter.

OO ‘A Tipping Point’: Record Number Of Americans See Global Warming As Threat

So are Australians…

OO Australia: More Recognizing Climate Change Is Manmade after
February 2016 saw global warming records broken.

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Take Your Money and Leave is basically what the Lax Kw’ahams said to Big Oil.Source UK Guardian

OO Canada: A First Nation Rejects $1 Billion For A Pipeline;
Land And Lifestyle Are Priceless
– the Lax Kw’alaams set a model for all of us.

OO Arch Coal Backs Away From Huge Montana Mine as the second largest coal company deals with bankruptcy.

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CLUELESS LEADERS

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Credit Mike Peters

OO South Miami Mayor: “Rubio Is An Idiot” On Global Warming and that was back in 2014. Rubio never changed.

OO Florida Voters Care About Climate Change.
Too Bad The Republican Presidential Candidates Don’t.
In Florida’s presidential primary, 99 Republican delegates are up for grabs.

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FOSSIL FUEL FOLLIES

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Credit Mark L. Taylor at http://www.thedailycall.org

OO Mining Companies Pay Far Less Than They Should
For Taxpayer-Owned Coal
– Leases on federal land ignore coal’s real cost, Greenpeace says.

OO Coal Companies Rely Heavily On Public Lands Coal says a new report that highlights how much of U.S. coal production comes from federally subsidized leases; even so, coal companies struggle to stay afloat. Maybe it’s time to pop their waterbeds.

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Credit B. Rich Hedgeye at app.hedgeye.com

OO The U.S. Is Pumping All This Oil — So Where Are The Benefits?Takeaways:

  • As the US surges in oil production, more of the economy becomes dependent on it – and suffers when oil prices plummet.
  • US oil hasn’t made the US energy dependent – it still depends on the price of foreign oil.
  • Cheap Mideast oil destabilizes the countries that depend on it for most of their revenues – so the US is still trying to tamp down terrorism in unstable Mideast countries.

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OO States Launch Another Attack On EPA Mercury Rule – States want the Supreme Court to take another crack at U.S. EPA’s rule to limit power plants’ mercury emissions. That’s sorta like slamming the EPA for trying to limit lead exposure in Flint, Michigan’s drinking water.

OO World’s Largest Private Coal Company Warns Of Bankruptcy – Peabody Energy may be facing the global downturn on coal, as the appetite for coal assets, at any price, “is questionable.”

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CLIMATE LEADERSHIP

OO Obama Reverses Course On Drilling Off Southeast Atlantic Coast and withdrew permitting to drill there. Way to go, O!

OO Apple’s $1.5 Billion Green Bond Could
Inspire More Environmental Investments
– Apple’s willingness to borrow billions to address the economic impact of climate change could encourage others to do the same.

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ELECTION YEAR:

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If You Don’t Vote For Climate Action, You Can Forget The Rest – in a climate-changing world of famine, drought, rising seas, giant storms and heat waves, there will be no security in jobs, health, wealth, or national safety. There will be chaos ensuing from increasing crises and disasters. Vote.

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OO Getting Misled By Short-Term Thinking In Our Presidential Debates – Not talking about climate change can lull the public into thinking it’s not present or important. Wrong.

OO Global Warming Policies We Set Today Will Determine The Next 10,000 Years – of global warming, a new study shows — and whether our civilization survives or not: history shows that harmful climate change has destroyed civilizations before.

This time, it could be worldwide. Let’s keep “The Hunger Games“ in the realm of fiction.

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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.

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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 RISING

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OO Millions of Americans Stand to Benefit From Targeted Low-Income Solar Policies shows a new policy guide with a suite of solutions .

OO Pricing for Solar Systems in the US Dropped 17% in 2015

OO $2 Billion Loss for Generators as a Million U.S. Roofs Get Solar – anything that helps make fossil fuel burning obsolete is great news…

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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, Mar 29, 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 and so does the California drought, despite recent El Nino driven rains.

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 skipper on a lily 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 textsare freely available.

2016-03-29-1459274825-2174578-skipperbutterflyonlilyflower.jpg

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Climate Change This Week: Frying February, Minimizing Methane, and More!

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

2016-03-21-1458536132-7658518-blackbears570intongassSourcefluffyfeetatpinterestccr315.jpg

When Forests Go, So Do These and many other baby animals. Source fluffyfeet at pinterest

Forests: the cheapest way to store carbon

2016-03-21-1458536263-5807043-wildfiredroughtcanturnforestCsinktoCsourcecreditRamosKeithUSFWSwikicommons.jpg

From Carbon Sink to Source – as climate-fueled droughts and wildfires kill forests, they emit carbon. Credit Ramos Keith USFWS wiki commons

OO Climate Changing Faster Than US Forests Can Adapt – climate change consequences now threaten almost all forests of the continental U.S., and much of Canada, shows new research.

When we threaten forests, we threaten ourselves.

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A 200 YEAR OLD PREDICTION OF OUR GROWING CALAMITY

OO Past Vision Of Future Calamity:
Alexander von Homboldt
– (1769-1859), one of the greatest investigative scientists, climbed the world’s highest mountains and volcanoes known, and slogged through forests, deserts and jungles, collecting mountains of observations on soil and air, plants and animals.

His ultimate takeaway? Earth is a balance of plants, animals and elements that fed the perpetuity of life.

2016-03-21-1458536329-5766778-alexandervonhumboldtPaintedbyJosephKarlStielerccr320.jpg

Alexander von Humboldt Painted by Joseph Karl Stieler

Industrialization, he warned, would ruin the air and upset nature’s balance. His predictions were dire, and accurate. He tied environmental exploitation to social exploitation. Conversely, he tied freedom and individual enterprise to sustainable stewardship of Earth.

Related Headline:

OO David M. Gates, Ecologist, Dies At 94;
Sounded Early Alarm On Environmental Perils
including the global threats of fossil fuels, fertilizers and pesticides.

The curse of speaking out on environmental perils is that you look like a fool if you turn out to be wrong, and the world suffers if you turn out to be right. -Peter Dykstra, EHN

2015: BIGGEST JUMP IN CLIMATE CHANGING CO2 YET

2016-03-21-1458536368-8108355-atmosphereofEarthCO2levelsfrIntlSpcStatncredISSNASAccr243.jpg

Our Atmosphere, the Only One We Have Source ISS/NASA

OO Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Levels Show A Startling Increase – spiking more from February 2015 to February 2016 than ever recorded, says a NASA scientist. The resulting CO2 concentration of 404 parts per million for February is the highest seen yet.

Related Headlines:

OO Earth Saw ‘Explosive’ Annual Growth In Carbon Dioxide In 2015 – significant, because it demonstrates the continued increase of global warming pollutants in the atmosphere. Men may talk in Paris, but Nature keeps acting, said Voltaire.

OO Highest Ever Annual Rise In Carbon Dioxide Levels Recorded – Another climate record is broken as CO2 levels go up by 3.76 parts per million in just a year, breaching 404 parts per million.

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WHY ARE CLIMATE CHANGING EMISSIONS ACCELERATING?

EMISSIONS ABSORBERS ARE DISAPPEARING –
AS EMISSIONS RISE

2016-03-21-1458536421-1963149-cowmethaneproducerandwindturbinesTDCccr321.jpg

Not Just Our Fuels But Our Farms emit climate changing gases – as in potent methane from cow farts. Okay, stop laughing. This is definitely not funny.

OO Emissions Now Far Outweigh The Amount Of CO2 Earth Can Absorb – a new study finds.

It indicates that the warming effect from methane and nitrous oxide emitted from human activities on land outweighs the cooling effect from the carbon dioxide it absorbs from the atmosphere. This turns the land from a sink to now a source of climate changing emissions.

Thus, even emissions from green plants are now contributing to global warming, beyond human caused emissions.

Related Headlines:

2016-03-21-1458536456-1968558-ricecropartshogunSourcethoughtpantry.wordpress.comccr298.jpg

The Real Threat Behind The Shogun – is the climate changing methane being released by the cultivation of the rice, which forms this giant piece of crop art.Source thoughtpantry.wordpress.com

OO “Hidden” Sources of Climate Changing Emissions:
Agriculture and Waste Disposal
– global animal agriculture, rice cultivation, and waste disposal help create more emissions than Earth’s land can now absorb, says a new study.

But…

EMISSION SOURCES ARE INCREASING

2016-03-21-1458536508-6745787-methaneleaksinBostonaSourceNOAAUSNavyetaldataatwww.skepticalscience.comccr314.png

The “New Coal” – although natural gas burns cleaner than coal, so much of it – the highly potent climate changing methane – escapes via leaking wells and distribution systems that its climate change impact on the planet is just as bad. Source NOAA, US Navy et al data at http://www.skepticalscience.com

OO The Mystery Of The Global Methane Rise: Asian Agriculture Or US Fracking? A new study says it’s the growth of farming in China and India needed for rising populations.

But other scientists believe the US natural gas boom is to blame:

Mining gas releases substantial, often vastly underestimated leaks of methane, a far more potent climate changing gas than CO2.

World methane levels started rising in 2007, when the US natural gas boom began.

Related Headline:

OO UK: Fracking To Prompt Sharp Rise In Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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2016-03-21-1458536551-9413096-deforestationforpalmoilinBorneomongabay.jpg

Biofuels Dirty Secret – is that their farms replace important carbon absorbing forests and grasslands, as a palm oil farm has done above. Source: mongabay.com

OO EU Green Transport Target
‘May Have Increased Greenhouse Gas Emissions’
by burning biofuels that emit more such emissions over their production cycle than diesel oil, says a new analysis.

Soy and palm oil biodiesel oils emit two to over three times as much, respectively, than regular diesel, when the crops’ effects on land use are considered.

Europe’s aim of sourcing 10% of its transport fuel to “renewables” by 2020 — mostly biodiesel — will foster crop cultivation on 17 million acres of forests and grasslands, the study says.

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CLIMATE LEADERSHIP

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OO US, Canada Will Cut Methane Emissions By 40-45%
— And More
– Presidents Barack Obama and Justin Trudeau announced their governments would:

  • cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40-45% below 2012 levels by 2025;
  • reduce potent climate changing HFC emissions;
  • begin discussing new regulations with industry;
  • promote North American carbon markets.
  • take steps to protect the Arctic.

Methane, an important contributor to global warming, is the main component of natural gas.

  • A change of Canadian leadership sparked this dramatic confluence of climate leadership.
  • The news was welcomed by environmentalists, and criticized by fossil fuel interests.

The news was also covered by the Guardian, Reuters, Scientific American, NPR, and the Financial Times.

Related Headline:

OO Obama Seeks Tighter Rules On Methane Emissions From Oil, Gas Drillers

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HOT NEWS

@@ Hot Enough Yet? And remember, 2015 was hotter than 2014, the last year shown above. NASA

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2016-03-21-1458536738-169957-heatwaveDSCN9309Africanheatwaveversion_resize.jpg

OO Dangerous Global Warming Will Happen Sooner Than Thought –
2C Rise By 2030
– ie, a 4F rise by 2030, says a new study. A global tracker monitoring energy use per person points to 2C warming by 2030,based on new modelling using long-term average projections on economic growth, population growth and energy use per person.

The report emphasizes the need to transition to clean renewables – but not the equally urgent need to bring populations to sustainable levels.

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2016-03-21-1458536777-3302255-hotchristmassantasurfNewZealandSourcewww.dialaflight.comccr310.jpg

The New Winter Wonderland – surf’s up! Source http://www.dialaflight.com

OO Here’s What Climate Change Has Done
To The Season Formerly Known As Winter

  • a green Christmas across eastern US;
  • tornadoes raked Texas and the Southeast;
  • the second warmest winter in Alaska recorded.

The weird US warmth exemplifies worldwide record winter heat.

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Anomalies (departures from average) in surface temperature worldwide for February 2016, in degrees Centigrade, as analyzed by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Image credit: NASA/GISS.

OO NASA Confirms February 2016’s Shocking Global Warming
Temperature Record
at 1.35 degrees Celsius above the long-term average—and more than 0.2 degrees Celsius warmer than the previously most unusually warm month ever measured: January 2016.

Related Headline:

OO February Smashes Earth’s All-Time Global Heat Record by a Jaw-Dropping Margin

Takeaways:

  • the new February record beat the old one by nearly 1 F, an extraordinary margin;
  • much of that unusual heat was in the Arctic.

severe impacts resulted:

  • at least 3 less developed nations suffered extreme weather disasters in February 2016 that cost 4% of their GNP (roughly like the US having 5 simultaneous Hurricane Katrinas…);
  • 9 nations had their most expensive national weather disasters ever in 2015.

Carbon dioxide, the main climate changing gas, had its biggest yearly jump in worldwide levels in 2015

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OO Likely Becomes More Definite: Some Extreme Weather
Now Reliably Linked To Climate Change
– such as heat waves, says a new study.

The report was widely covered, with Carbon Brief also taking an in-depth look at the topic.

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WHAT HEAT DOES TO GLACIERS

https://embed.theguardian.com/embed/video/world/video/2016/mar/10/part-of-perito-moreno-glacier-collapses-video

@@ Argentina: Part of Perito Moreno Glacier Collapses – video. Known as the “White Giant”,the 18 km long river of ice is one of Argentina’s biggest attractions.

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AND THEN, THE DELUGE…

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Wet Reality – expect more intense storms like this. Credit Shannon Dizmang at Flickr

OO Thunderstorms Pound U.S. South After Days Of Rain adding more rain to flooded rivers.

2016-03-21-1458536886-6516417-statueoflibertyfloodarisingSourcefullgrownministry.comccr290.jpg

OO Global Warming Already Driving Increases In Rainfall Extremes and snowfall, too,
across most of the globe, even in arid regions. This will continue as the world warms, a new study warns.

Related Headlines:

OO Deluges Increasing In World’s Wettest And Driest Regions says a new study.
Extreme downpours are increasing and global warming will raise the risks of bigger cloudbursts for the rest of the century.

OO Warming Brings Increasing Flood Risk And Heavier Rain

2016-03-21-1458536922-2260111-encroachingMiamifloodingTDCccr321.jpg

OO Flood Damage Costs Will Rise Faster Than Sea Levels – rise exponentially faster, says a new study: it aims to give coastal cities a way to prepare for them.

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“DOUBLE BARRELED” EL NINO JUST GETTING STARTED

@@ El Nino Just Getting Started

Related Headline:

2016-03-21-1458536958-9990961-GreatBarrierreefcoralsturtleSourcetravelingearth.comccr288.jpg

Imagine This In Brown And White – as corals are bleached, fish flee, and brown scum, left ungrazed, takes over…

OO Great Barrier Reef:
Severe Coral Bleaching Worsens In Most Pristine Parts

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FALLEN HEROES SPEAK ON GLOBAL WARMING

<strong><a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jg2RNB0JKXY&#8221; target=”_hplink”>@@</a> Gary Braasch* & Stephen Schneider On Global Warming </strong>

A photographic overview of melting ice, flooding water – from 2008:

@@ Gary Braasch* & Stephen Schneider On Global Warming

*A noted environmental and climate change photographic journalist, Gary recently died while continuing this mission, snorkeling on the threatened Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

“How many fires in the west, intense hurricanes, melting Arctics and disappearing glaciers does it take before people decide ‘maybe something really is going on’?” asked Steven Schneider. (1945-2010)

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ELECTION YEAR:

2016-03-08-1457470019-7186523-voteforclimateactionDIFyourfamilymehccr317.png

If You Don’t Vote For Climate Action, You Can Forget The Rest – in a climate-changing world of famine, drought, rising seas, giant storms and heat waves, there will be no security in jobs, health, wealth, or national safety. There will be chaos ensuing from increasing crises and disasters. Vote.

OO Global Warming Policies We Set Today Will Determine The Next 10,000 Years – of global warming, a new study shows — and whether our civilization survives or not: history shows that harmful climate change has destroyed civilizations before.

This time, it could be worldwide. Let’s keep “The Hunger Games“ in the realm of fiction.

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GOOD CLEAN NEWS

2014-03-14-cleanenergybulb500solutionsideabulblead972x514viaclimateprogresscctw97.jpg

OO Clean Energy Is Win-Win For The US – and scientists have worked out how the U.S. could save as many as 300,000 lives by 2030, and get a tenfold return on its investments at the same time.

OO These Old-School Companies Are Going Big With Solar And Wind – a who’s who of the corporate world is turning to renewables, notably wind, as they make massive new deals.

OO Patagonia To Help Fund Residential Solar Installations working with four other companies to create a $35 million fund to finance placing solar panels on more than 1,500 residential rooftops over eight states.

2016-03-21-1458536990-2621103-coalminePowderBasininsmogTDCccr321.jpg

OO JP Morgan Won’t Back New Coal Mines To Combat Climate Change and will end support for new coal-fired power plants in “high income” countries. ‘Bout time, JP!

OO Oil And Natural Gas Drilling Rigs Hit 70-Year US Low

OO Coal Power Plant Retirements Surge Amid Changing Energy Industry

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Source http://www.lapfinvestments.com

OO Shareholder Climate Resolutions Reach New High

OO Is The Wind Industry Still A Safe Bet For Investors? It sure looks like it for investors who seek long-term low-risk investments.

2015-05-04-1430772349-936726-chinesedragongreenccr234.jpg

OO China Could Peak Carbon Emissions Well Before 2030 say experts.

OO China’s Emissions May Have Already Peaked
Says Economist Lord Nicholas Stern

OO China Sets Cap on Energy Consumption for First Time aiming to keep energy consumption within 5 billion tons of standard coal equivalent by 2020, marking the first time the world’s second-biggest economy has set such a target.

Related Headline:

OO China Unveils Vision Of Greener Future In Its Five-Year Plan to accelerate its shift away from heavy, coal-hungry industry, towards a greener future, involving a big switch towards renewable energy and increasing consumption of produce domestically.

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GOOD IDEAS

2016-03-21-1458537071-8310373-clearnightskycoolingearthmilkywayCreditAlanDyeratamazingsky.netccr321.jpg

Clear Sky, Cool Night – Now Can We Cool the Day? Credit Alan Dyer at amazingsky.net

OO The Sky May Hold the Secret to Efficient Air Conditioning – which currently consumes nearly 15% of a building’s energy load. Why not send the heat directly into space?

Everything emits heat, but heat within a particular range of frequencies doesn’t get trapped in the surrounding air – it escapes directly into the very cold upper atmosphere and outer space.

The idea? Cover a building’s surface with something that absorbs the sunlight and emits escaping heat into those cold upper reaches. The emitting surface can actually cool below ambient temperatures via this process, known as radiative cooling.

SkyCool company has developed a prototype device that does just that.

2016-03-21-1458537107-3960146-SkycoolradiativecoolingprototypesSourceSkyCoolccr321.jpg

Colder Than You Think – SkyCool company’s radiative cooler prototypes cool below their surrounding air temperature.

Ultimately such devices might reduce buildings’ energy consumption up to 50% and make refrigeration also far more efficient. Right now, it’s just the gleam in entrepreneurs’ eyes.

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2016-03-21-1458537214-8010431-videopoweringtheplanet2windturbine.png

OO This Will Blow You Away:
650+-Foot Long Blades On Giant Wind Turbines
– longer than 2 football fields, the blades would be on windmills higher than the Empire State Building, and generate 2500% more electricity than today’s turbines, many of which have blades about a third that long.

OO Pretty Soon, Your Car Might Run On Poop – we might run out of oil, but we’ll never run out of poop.

OO MIT Researchers Turn Waste Gas Into Liquid Fuel – Turning the emissions of power stations, steel mills and garbage dumps into liquid fuels has been demonstrated by MIT researchers using engineered microbes.

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2016-03-21-1458537257-5085610-3dimagingoftreesNASAccr321.jpg

Tracking Trees, and Carbon, From Outer Space – GEDI, a NASA Earth-observing system set to go on the International Space Station in 2018, will enable the government to understand the architecture of forests, as this 3-D rendering depicts.

By fully analyzing the structure of forests, researchers will be able to more accurately measure the amount of carbon they store. NASA

OO Assessing Forest Carbon Storage:
Seeing The Trees In 3-D,
A ‘Game Changer’ For Forest Policy
– in 2018, America’s space agency is going to send a laser into outer space to assess the world’s trees.

OO These Farmers Slash And Burn Forests,
But In A Good Way
– clearing small patches, growing a crop, then letting the forest regrow.

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2016-03-21-1458537307-3098189-smartplugCreditFelixClayfortheGuardinanccr321.jpg

Credit Felix Clay for the Guardian

OO The Smart Plug Socket That Saves You Money And Time —
By Switching Off Appliances Remotely
– the affordable, simple-to-use remote smart plug sockets help you save energy and cash.

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CLUELESS LEADERS

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Credit Michael Lukovich

OO Oil And Gas Industry Pumped $100+ Million Into Republican Campaigns In 2015 as fossil fuel millionaires flexed their financial muscle.

OO GOP Candidates Remain Climate Wimps – skirting questions on it at the last debate.

Rubio said: “Sure, the climate is changing. […] There was never a time when the climate was not changing.” Uh-huh.

2016-03-21-1458537426-9822646-RepublicanspopeclimatecartoonCreditMikeLuckovichccr296.jpg

Credit Mike Luckovich

OO Over Half of Ted Cruz’s Super PAC Money Comes From Fossil Fuel Sources

OO How The Refineries Came To Own Our Air Pollution Regulators-“Regulatory capture” is the term for what happens when an agency overseeing an industry begins to see things the industry’s way – as in, most recently, the South Coast Air Quality Management District board and the refinery industry.

OO Canadian Companies Supporting Fight Against US Climate Plan -many large companies are financing legal action and lobbying against it, putting the public and their investors at risk.

US MEDIA MEAGER ON CLIMATE IN 2015

OO During the Most Important Year for Climate News, TV Coverage Fell – even though
2015 was a banner year for climate news – think several record hot months and year, the papal climate encyclical, and more – climate change was largely absent from U.S. broadcast news.

Climate coverage fell in 2015.

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SPEAKING OUT

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Source pix11.com

OO Clinton Would Limit Fracking; Sanders Just Says No

OO US Fed Scientist Urges Next-Generation Solar:
‘We Have No Choice’
if we want to meet our energy needs, and do so with the urgency dictated by climate change, said scientist Seth Darling.
“If we really want to scale up solar super fast, which we’ve got to do — the market’s growing already by something like 30% a year, massive growth, but that’s nowhere near enough — it’s got to grow much faster to solve this problem in the time frame dictated by climate disruption,” he said.

2016-03-21-1458537641-3935524-kidssueonclimatechange3Sourceregisterguard.comccr321.png

Angry Adolescents Act by filing suit against government inaction and big fossil fuel companies. Source registerguard.com

OO 21 Kids Are Suing President Obama Over Climate Inaction – accusing the government of infringing on “the fundamental right of citizens to be free from government actions that harm life, liberty, and property” by “approving and promoting fossil fuel development.”

Related Headline:

OO Youngsters Press Global Warming Lawsuit – Hundreds of demonstrators held a rainy day rally in support of plaintiffs against both the federal government and groups representing the largest energy companies in the world.

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2016-03-21-1458537695-8306363-DhrubajyotiGhoshsaveskolkatawetlandsmehcollageccr321.png

Saving a City as Dhrubajyoti Ghosh works to save Kolkata’s flood defense, its wetlands.

OO An Indian City’s Flood Defense: Wetlands –
And One Man’s Struggle To Save Them
– Kolkata’s wetlands are its free sewage works, a fertile aquatic garden and, most importantly, a flood defence – but they’re under threat from developers. One environmentalist leads the resistance.

OO Fossil Fuels Are ‘Probably Dead,’ Says Canadian Pacific Railway CEO
“I’m not maybe as green as I should be, but I happen to think the climate is changing [and] they’re not going to fool me anymore,” Hunter Harrison told a J.P. Morgan transportation conference.

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SOCIAL REPERCUSSIONS

2016-03-21-1458537730-9374861-CalifBulletTrainhighspeedrailTDCccr321.jpg

Water, or Speed? The drought has Californians shifting their spending priorities.

OO CA: Build More Reservoirs, Not High Speed Rail —
Proposed Ballot Measure Sparks Debate

2016-03-21-1458537765-9424243-bananatreeSourcepinterestccr321.jpg

Soon A Memory in Sub-Saharan Africa? Besides bananas, maize and beans are also threatened by climate change there. Source pinterest

OO Time Short To Protect Africa’s Food Supply From Climate Change – say researchers: without helping farmers, it will become impossible to grow some staple food crops in parts of sub-Saharan Africa, with maize, beans and bananas most at risk.

OO Brazil: Global Warming Prompts Farmers To Plant Fewer Crops a new study says.

OO Mosquitoes’ Rapid Spread Poses Threat Beyond Zika – to a growing number of continent-jumping diseases carried by mosquitoes threatening swathes of humanity, warn experts.

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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 FLYING

2014-12-30-Solarkeepsflying500SolarplanethesolarimpulsecourtesyofSolarImpulse.jpg

OO US Solar Utilities Expanded nearly 800% Over the Political Landscape
In Last 8 Years
– only 12 US Congressional districts had solar utilities in 2008; now 88 of them do – and many of them are Republican.

OO Rhode Island: Company to Launch a First-of-Its-Kind Solar Marketplace – allowing consumers to shop online for solar power and receive a state incentive for improving energy efficiency at the same time.

OO Regulation, Not Technology, Will Determine The Future Of Rooftop Solar
By 2020, solar could either be as cheap as grid electricity in nearly all 50 states—or in almost none at all.

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OO Whole Foods To Install Rooftop Solar At 100 Stores

2016-03-21-1458537833-8433410-solarroadTDCccr321.jpg

Several countries—the Netherlands, France, the United States—are testing ways to pave roads with solar panels. Their efforts have plenty of skeptics.

OO Will We Soon Be Riding On Solar Roads?
The Idea Gains Traction

OO Solar Farms To Create Natural Habitats For Threatened British Speciessuch as turtle doves and skylarks, which could benefit from a proje launched to create natural habitats at solar farm sites.

OO Spanish Parliament Rallies Against Punitive ‘Sun Tax’

2014-01-31-geostellargetcleanenergy.png

Check it out here, right now!

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WHY WE SHOULD ACT NOW: RISING RISKS

2016-03-21-1458537873-841620-anomaltempmar202016.png

Daily Climate Change: Global Map of Unusual Temperatures, Mar 20, 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 southwestern US and the waters surrounding the US are experiencing warmer than normal temperatures: El Nino driven rains have made an inadequate effect on the California drought, as the drought monitor shows.
http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/Home/StateDroughtMonitor.aspx?CA

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 flower full of snails I photographed one spring in Chile. 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.

2016-03-21-1458537913-1465769-snailsonadaisyflowerChile2014DSCN4197.jpg

 

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

 

Find this interesting? Please re-post it!

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Climate Change This Week: A Really Hot 2016 Start, a Really Cool Battery, and More!

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

2016-03-15-1458062841-9597908-hummingbirdtuftedcoquette2birdbyMichelGiraudAudineatflickrccr287.jpg

When The Forest Goes, So Does This Beauty, a beautiful tropical forest hummingbird. Credit Michel Giraud-Audine at flickr

Forests: the cheapest way to store carbon

2016-03-15-1458062902-972201-amazonloggingclearcuttingdeforestationTDCccr205.jpg

OO Satellite Data Suggests Tropical Forest Loss Worldwide Is Accelerating – The loss rate has been over 60% higher from 1990 to 2010 than previous decades, and higher than previous estimates, according to data covering 80% of all tropical forests.

This counters a previous UN FAO assessment suggesting a 25% decrease in the same period.

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2016-03-15-1458062987-2676322-pepsicolgatejohnsonpalmoilorangutandeforestationcollagemehccr320.png

Not Good For You, Earth, Forests, or Orangutans – 3 big conglomerates who can track their profits, but not their destructive sources of unhealthy palm oil, as forests are destroyed to produce it.

OO Check Your Shampoo:
Colgate-Palmolive, Johnson & Johnson, and PepsiCo
Keep Sourcing Destructive Palm Oil
– breaking their promises not to source palm oil illegal plantations that destroy forests. Boycott palm oil products.

When we harm forests, we harm ourselves.

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CLIMATE CHANGE CROP FAILURE: 500,000+ DEATHS BY 2050

2016-03-15-1458063026-7113789-papuanewguineafrostsdroughtCreditJayLomuatCAREccr310.jpg

When Crops Fail, Hunger Increases Credit Jay Lomu at CARE

OO Food Scarcity Caused By Climate Change
Could Cause 500,000 Deaths By 2050
– the effects of climate change on food production alone around the world could lead to more than 500,000 deaths by the year 2050, says a grim new study.

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HOT NEWS

GARGANTUAN MELTING OF GREENLAND IS SELF-SPEEDING

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Ice Melts, Surface Darkens, Heats Further, Melts Further this albedo effect, where darker colors absorb more heat, speeds the melt cycle. Source http://www.theguardian.com

OO Greenland’s Ice Melt Accelerating As Surface Darkens, Raising Sea Levels – the melt faces a
feedback loop: as ice melts, the surface darkens (also darkened from blown in wildfire soot), absorbing more heat, which speeds melting further; the resulting meltwater raises sea levels. The soot is also connected to climate change: Arctic warming ups the frequency of its wildfires.

Related Headline:

OO Greenland’s Melting Is ‘Feeding on Itself,’ Scientists Say in a new study.

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Ominous New Low Tracks Disappearing Arctic Ice Cap – which serves as an important planetary thermal shield in the summer; once that disappears the planet will be absorbing far more heat.

OO Darkening Arctic Ice Sets New Record Low For February Ice – As is happening in Greenland, above, melting ice darkens the remaining surface, which absorbs more heat and further speeds melt, in addition to the ever increasing heating from global warming.

BUT: The consequences – from our atmosphere* to our coastlines** – “will be profound.”

* as thawing [Arctic] permafrost emits additional greenhouse gases
** as melting Greenland and Arctic glaciers create rising seas

Related Headline:

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Created in 2006 – And It’s Only Gotten Worse…. VOTE! Credit Jim Morin, Miami Herald

OO Following Alaska’s Vanishing Ice – the albedo feedback loop makes the Arctic more sensitive to warming than anywhere else on the planet — and gives the Arctic an outsized influence on how much the rest of the planet warms. Darkness begets darkness, warmth begets warmth.

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Credit Tom Toles at the Washington Post

OO Did Global Warming Really Slow Down?
Yeah, Right. Did The Laws Of Physics Stop Operating?
As one climate scientist noted, we’re adding more heat to our planet 24/7 – the rest is just details.

Yes, the warming of the air did slow, temporarily – but the total heat the Earth absorbed from greenhouse gases? Nah. It kept right on further heating our planet.

Where did over 90% of that heat go? Where it always goes, for now: into the oceans. Poached lobster, anyone?

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OO Ted Cruz’s Favorite Temperature Data Just Got A Lot Hotter:
Even Satellites Now Show Global Warming
– a new study makes Ted Cruz’s favorite chart obsolete, as atmospheric temperatures set a new record high.

Related Headline:

OO Climate Deniers Lose Key Talking Point
As Satellites Show Temperatures Hit All-Time Highs

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Even Satellites Show Global Warming Source NOAA

OO Why Is 2016 Smashing Heat Records?
It’s Mostly Global Warming
not El Niño that has driven January and February to record high temperatures. By analyzing all the temperature records, a number of researchers have separately concluded that El Niño is responsible for less than 20% of the unusual heat being seen – ie, less than a rise of 0.1C. The rest is global warming, says climate scientist Michael Mann.

“In other words, we would have set an all-time global temperature record [in 2015] even without any help from El Niño.”

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A photographic overview of melting ice, flooding water – from 2008:

@@ Gary Braasch* & Stephen Schneider On Global Warming

*A noted environmental and climate change photographic journalist, Gary recently died while continuing this mission, snorkeling on the threatened Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

“How many fires in the west, intense hurricanes, melting Arctics and disappearing glaciers does it take before people decide ‘maybe something really is going on’?” asks Stephen Schneider. (1945-2010)

Steve was incredibly smart, caring, and witty – with a great knack for creating fantastic sound bites on the spot. I still miss him.

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OO El Niño’s Disastrous Worldwide Consequences Will Worsen even though the Pacific ocean is starting to cool, due to the effect lag between peak ocean temperatures (which drive it) and the weather. El Nino effects will worsen for much of 2016. Effects include:

  • Nearly 100 million people face food & water shortages due to unusual droughts and floods
  • Harsh droughts are affecting Africa, Central America, Southeast Asia, and some Pacific Is.
  • Helping to spread mosquito borne diseases, like Zika virus
  • Contributing to an uncertain economic environment

The piece also notes unusual heat, but several researchers conclude that is mostly due to global warming.

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GOOD IDEAS

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Blooming Food Scraps, Booming Carbon Storage – when a grassland is fertilized with compost produced from food scraps. Credit Dean Fikar

OO A Brilliant New Use For Your Kitchen Scraps:
Upping Carbon Storage on Grasslands
by turning the scraps into compost used to fertilize and promote grass production.

If compost were added to 5% of California’s rangelands, those 3.2 million acres could eliminate 7.6 million tons of carbon emissions.

OO Making Concrete Green:
Reinventing The World’s Most Used Synthetic Material
– by using plastic or industrial waste materials, companies are producing concrete cheaply, with dramatically lower emissions. About time, boys!

The colors show the uneven distribution of chemical elements on this particle’s surface, which is key to its improved performance in batteries. Plus, it’s pretty to look at. Courtesy of Brookhaven National Laboratory and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

OO DOE: Building Better Batteries for Long-Distance Driving and Faster-Charging Electronics – scientists from Dept of Energy labs have found a way to potentially use a simple manufacturing technique to build a high-capacity battery material that protects itself from damage. Test batteries incorporating this cathode material could keep going, and going, and going. Ah, a practically perpetual battery!

OO Does A Carbon Tax Work? Yes. Ask British Columbia.
A conservative party in the province introduced a carbon tax in 2008. The important lesson for American skeptics is that the policy worked as advertised. New York Times. 2 March 2016

OO China Aims To Boost Renewable Energy With ‘Green Cert.ificates’ – China plans to set up a market for renewable energy certificates to try to increase the use of cleaner energy.

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OO Are You Losing Out By Not Divesting? New York Did – New York State’s pension fund would have an additional $5.3 billion to give to its retired employees if it had divested from fossil fuel companies and put that money into clean energy, says a new report.

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GOOD CLEAN NEWS

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OO US Energy Storage Market Grew Nearly 250% in 2015, Largest Year on Record – and is projected to reach 1.7 gigawatts by 2020—with a value of $2.5 billion.

OO Oregon Passes Bill to Cut Coal Purchases, Double Renewable Energy by 2040 Critics say the bill simply shifts coal usage out of state.

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OO Germany’s Second-Biggest Utility Plans to Launch
Residential Solar-Plus-Storage Offering

OO Regulations Work:
Alberta Coal Power Contracts To End Due To Higher Emissions Costs
– it became unprofitable once they had to pay for their pollution.

DID CHINA PEAK? TAKE A PEEK!

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OO China Slashes Coal Use And Thus,
Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Two Years Running
– shows China’s National Bureau of Statistics. Greenpeace East Asia says China’s drop in coal use over the past two years is equal to Japan’s total annual coal consumption.

Related Headline:

OO Decline in China’s Coal Consumption Accelerates to nearly 4% in 2015, say China government statistics, the second decline in 2 years.

What’s more, the reduction took place while the economy grew. The data will raise hopes that coal use in the country has finally peaked.

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OO China Set To Surpass Its Climate Targets As Renewables Soar – wind and solar energy surged in China in 2015 to record levels, helping the country to pivot away from coal, which still provides two-thirds of its power.

But….

OO China’s CO2 Emissions May Have Peaked In 2014
But China’s Envoy Says No
– an international study says, which might have indicated that China’s current target of peaking by 2030 was far too easy. The Chinese envoy insists emissions are still growing. China is, by far, the world’s highest emitter of climate changing gases.

and

OO Greenpeace Says China Increasing Coal-Fired Capacity says Greenpeace East Asia, with a total of 210 coal power projects in the pipeline, despite overcapacity in the industry and pollution concerns.

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Calcutta Clutter, Sputter, & Pollution – a taxing situation.

OO India Introduces Car Sales Tax To Combat Pollution – and they’re poorer than us; why isn’t the US doing this?

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NATURAL REPERCUSSIONS

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A Psychedelic Vision, the Variable Neon Slug is one of many colorful nudibranchs that occur on the Great Barrier Reef. As the reef goes, so will they.Source theverybesttop10.com

OO Next Few Weeks Critical As
Great Barrier Reef Suffers ‘Tragic’ Coral Bleaching
– Fears of an imminent mass coral bleaching there have prompted federal authorities to issue an urgent warning on the natural wonder.

Related Headline:

OO Parts Of Great Barrier Reef Face
Permanent Destruction From El Nino
if the current El Nino, one of the strongest in two decades, does not ease this month, scientists say. Sadly, this is not likely.

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With Drought, Mideast Turmoil Will Grow as falling sources of food fail to sustain the population. Credit AP,Vadim Ghirda

OO Syria’s Drought Has Likely Been Its Worst In 900 Years – says a new study, worsened in part by climate change, and probably having some effect on the human turmoil there. This may signal a long term change towards a drier climate – and more turmoil for the populous region.

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Get Ready, New York! As the north warms more, expect venomous snakes to spread, says a new study. Credit Casey Kanode

OO Snakes’ Expanding Habitat Could Bring Their Venom To Surprising Places says a new study, as warming opens up new habitat possibilities. Care for a bite?

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OO Scotland’s Native Insects At Severe Risk From Climate Change and so will agriculture be, from invading insect pests.

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Musk Ox Health Depends on Beetles – in part, because beetles eat snails that carry parasites that infect ox lungs; without the beetles, more ox, an essential Arctic food source for people there, would likely die from lung infections. Just one of many, many ways beetles affect Arctic life. Source http://www.freerepublic.com

OO Arctic Beetles: Even Climate Change’s Tiniest Victims Have Big Impactson much larger species, including humans, as the Arctic warms, scientists find. Beetles, as predators and prey, form important cornerstones in ecosystems.

There are many beetle there and worldwide, so the impacts will be numerous, unpredictable and potentially nasty worldwide.

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CLUELESS LEADERSHIP

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OO Warren Buffett’s Delusion:
Climate Disasters Will Enrich Insurance Business
– is essentially Buffett’s message to stockholders, ignoring fears of other insurance companies that escalating climate catastrophes will bankrupt them first. No, he simply notes that as catastrophes accelerate people buy more insurance from his company.

What exactly does he insure – boats?

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Credit Michael Lukovich

OO Oil And Gas Industry Has Pumped
$100+ Millions Into Republican Campaigns
just for presidential candidates in 2015 alone. Let’s hope it’s a waste of money.

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CLIMATE LEADERSHIP

OO Obama Administration Pays Out $500 Million To Climate Change Projectas part of its $3 billion pledge to help poor countries fight climate change – defying Republican opposition to the president’s environmental plan.

Helping poor countries prevents further instability that can ultimately affect our own security. No nation is an island on Earth, as Syria, 911, and many other disasters have shown.

OO Minnesota Presses Clean Power Plan As Supreme Court Tells Feds To Wait
Gov. Mark Dayton is pushing ahead on his clean power efforts despite a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision ordering federal authorities to delay plans to cut power plant carbon emissions.

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SPEAKING OUT

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Feel the Bern?

OO Bernie Sanders Highlights Climate Change During Minnesota Rallyannouncing opposition to two pipeline projects that would affect the state.

OO Climate Activists Threaten To Shut Down World’s Major Coal Sites – Reclaim the Power says it will use direct action at a dozen international sites in May, including the UK’s largest opencast coal mine in south Wales.

OO Bangladesh: 1000s To March Against Coal Plant Threat To Sundarbans Forest, the world’s biggest mangrove forest, a World Heritage site.

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Fracking? Not in MY Swamp, Buster! Source http://www.provostadventures.com

OO After Public Outcry,
Florida Drops Bill To Frack The Everglades

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Gas Is Ba-a-a-a-ah-ah-d For Earth – make sheep hungry enough and they’ll spell out even the most obvious truths. Source Heinz DeChelard at http://www.abc.net.au

OO Australia: Farmers Use 2,000 Hungry Sheep
To Spell Out Their Message Against Gas Mining

OO Standard Oil Scion Ditches Her ExxonMobil Stock – John D. Rockefeller’s great-granddaughter doesn’t want shares in a company that’s “really hurting the world.”

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ELECTION YEAR 2016:

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If You Don’t Vote For Climate Action, You Can Forget The Rest – in a climate-changing world of famine, drought, rising seas, giant storms and heat waves, there will be no security in jobs, health, wealth, or national safety. There will be chaos ensuing from increasing crises and disasters. Vote.

OO Next President Could Make Or Break
The Paris Climate Agreement
– The US helped lead nearly 200 countries to a recent, international climate change agreement in Paris recently. The upcoming election could determine if the US continues to lead, or reneges on its commitments to cut climate changing emissions. VOTE.

OO Global Warming Policies We Set Today Will Determine The Next 10,000 Years – of global warming, a new study shows — and whether our civilization survives or not: history shows that harmful climate change has destroyed civilizations before.

This time, it could be worldwide. Let’s keep “The Hunger Games“ in the realm of fiction.

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SOCIAL REPERCUSSIONS

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Source http://www.hastingstribune.com

OO Flood Damage Costs Will Rise Faster Than Sea Levels, says a new study, showing that damage will increase exponentially; the study aims to give coastal cities a way to prepare for them.

Related Headline:

OO Costs Rise Faster Than Water says a new study, emphasizing that sea levels are rising quickly, and can have dangerous and costly impacts on human infrastructure.

OO Rising Seas Pull Fort Lauderdale, Florida’s Building Boomtown,
Toward A Bust
– the city is expecting its population to grow by a third, but it already can’t handle the impacts of climate change.

More costs:

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Faces of Distress from a 2009 bushfire, which are increasing as temperatures rise in Australia under continuing climate change. Credit Nic MacBean at ABC News

OO Natural Disasters Costing Australia 50% More Than Estimated say 2 new reports, which find increases in family violence and mental health problems due to the stress of natural disasters outweighs the cost of rebuilding infrastructure.

OO California County Still Relying On Water Tanks, Despite Rainfall – over 800 domestic wells still are dry. Where water has returned, the supply remains unpredictable.

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As ecosystemic changes increase natural disasters and threaten economic stability, water and food shortage will catalyze civil unrest and conflicts.

OO Pakistan’s Biggest Threat Isn’t Terrorism, It’s Climate Change – You know – that poor, unstable, populous, Asian nuclear power? Yeah, THAT one.

OO Which Mega-Cities Offer Best Protection From Climate Change? The wealthy ones, of course; developing world ones are falling behind, says a study.

OO Crappy Climate News: More Heat Means More Diarrhea – As temperatures rise so, too, do cases of diarrhea in many countries, says a new study. I don’t think we need a graphic here, do you?

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FOSSIL FUEL FOLLIES

THE NEW COAL:

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Credit Ken Doerr at flickr

OO Cheap Natural Gas Leads To More Plants And Pollution – the nation’s boom in cheap natural gas — often viewed as a clean energy source — is spawning a wave of petrochemical plants that, if built, will emit massive amounts of greenhouse gases, warns a new report.

Surprise, surprise, surprise…

OO Can Fracking Power Europe? Several countries hope to unleash vast natural-gas reserves through fracking, but drilling attempts have been disappointing… maybe this is a blessing in disguise!

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Present, But Thinking? Check the CO2 Levels Credit Charles Platiau at Reuters

OO Indoor CO2 Changes Your Mental Climate – leading to poor decisions, depending on the levels, which can increase dramatically, depending on the people density, new research is finding.

OO Ex-Chief Of Chesapeake Energy Dies In Crash A Day After IndictmentAubrey McClendon was the face of the US natural gas boom, a swashbuckling innovator who pioneered a shale revolution, leading a life of luxury and loans.

Sadly, the number of hearts broken by his death are vastly outnumbered by the number of hearts broken by his work.

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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 DRIVING

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OO US Solar Energy Is Poised For An Unforgettable Year in 2016 – New statistics just released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration suggest that the booming solar sector will add more new electricity-generating capacity than any other — including natural gas and wind.

OO Off-Grid Solar Market to Reach $3.1Billion by 2020

OO US Utility-Scale Solar Market Fueled by Growth
Beyond Renewable Portfolio Standards –
It’s Demand!
– more than half of 2016 installed utility-scale solar will be outside of state-level requirements.

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Storing Water, Producing Solar Power – the largest solar floating farm yet,on a reservoir near London, shows how to get more bang for the real estate buck.Source threwns.com

OO Meet The World’s Largest Floating Solar-Energy Farm As the global proliferation of solar power continues, energy experts are coming up with new ways to implement the cheap fuel alternative.

OO Singapore Feeds First Solar Power Into Retail Grid To Reduce Emissions

OO UK: Solar Thermal Panels the Latest to Get Hit by Subsidy Cuts – infuriating industry, and as a parliamentary committee warned that changes already made to the government’s energy policy had “spooked” investors and could push up consumer bills by upping costs of new energy schemes.

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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, Mar 14, 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 the sometimes monsoonal rains pelting central California, the drought mapremains little changed, while much of California’s aquifers have been permanently and significantly shrunk by farmers seeking water.

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 this out!

Every day is Earth Day, folks, as I was reminded by these wild flax flowers I photographed one summer. 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. 

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

 

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