What Works: Church Challenges BP, Climate Education Payoff, and More!

WHAT WORKS

Speaking Out:

OO Church Of England Challenges BP And Shell Over Global Warming to take responsibility for their carbon footprints and limit their contribution to global warming.

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Courtesy of Patricia Gualinga, Director of Intl Relations, Sarayaku community, Ecuador

OO How An Indigenous Community In Ecuador Stood Up To Big Oil – And Won

OO Two Lawmakers Want To Ban Fracking In Florida concerned about its impact on the Floridian Aquifer, the drinking water source for nearly 10 million people.

OO North Pole, Alaska, Sues Koch-Owned Oil Company Over Contaminated Water

Progress in Education:

OO Most Americans Say Climate Is Changing – Over 80% and 60% say it’s manmade.

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Jared Flesher

OO White House Announces Initiative To Improve US Climate Education

OO Oil Investors May Be Running Off a Hidden Cliff:
Some Divesting Before Assets Are Worthless
– as a growing minority recognizes that to address climate change, most fossil fuel reserves cannot be used, making them worthless.

New Insights:

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OO 2014 Likely Hottest Year on Record AND
Another First: The Heat’s Mostly Due to Global Warming

OO Warm Water Invasion Is Tripling the Melt Rate
of a Huge Antarctic Ice Sheet

Unraveling the Mysterious El Nino phenomenon has taken time and lots of measurements, reports Daniel Gross at Climate Central.

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Every few years, a relatively warm patch of water forms beneath the Pacific. Although just a few degrees warmer, globally, that extra heat can transform the seasonal climate. Some years, the warm region spreads out and up, where it meets with easterly trade winds, creating a feedback loop.

Warm water slows the easterly winds that normally enable an upwelling of cool water. So, slower upwelling increases warming that, in turn, further slows the winds. It’s this moment of atmospheric-oceanic coupling that helps scientists define the start of El Nino.

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Explore this interactive map here to see how El Nino has influenced past and present events of human and natural history.

Wind and water exist in delicate balance with the rest of the climate — so El Nino sets off a cascade of effects. Among its most drastic consequences are increased temperatures along the Pacific and heavy rains along South America’s western coast. In a tangled and interconnected system like the climate, a seemingly regional phenomenon like El Nino becomes global.

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Massive chunks of ice broke away from Greenland’s Petermann Glacier in 2012, emblematic of the general retreat of ice occurring around the Arctic.
NASA Earth Observatory

Dramatic Changes Are Unfolding in the Arctic reports Edward Struzik atClimate Central as the area warms twice as fast as the lower latitudes. Just within the past decade, changes include significant retreating ice, increasingly powerful storms, the burning of boreal forest and tundra, vast releases of methane from the land, and the shrubby takeover of melting, drying tundra.

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A hybrid of a polar and grizzly bear, harbinger of changes among wildlife, both on land and in the sea. Credit Jodie Pongracz.

On land, caribou are declining as are polar bears, while at sea killer whales are now going after beluga whales, walruses are beaching as their sea ice homes melts away, and birds die as climate changes. Beneath the waves, fish communities are changing.

Ultimately, it’s what we don’t know about how the Arctic keeps changing that really worries scientists.

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Winters Are Changing Throughout the US reports Climate Central. Over the past 40 years, the US winters have warmed an average 2.4 F, over twice as fast as the global average warming of winters.

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The US northeast is warming twice as fast as the rest of the US.

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US winter precipitation patterns are shifting, with the interior getting somewhat wetter, and the coasts somewhat drier.

OO CO2 Takes Just 10 Years to Peak Heat the Planet – from the time of emission to when it packs its maximum punch of heat, but continues to heat the planet for a century or more until it leaves the atmosphere.

Good Ideas:

OO Lighting Controls Could Save Boston $27 Million Annually

OO Indonesia: A Decade After Tsunami, New Mangrove Forests Protect The Coast

OO Keeping Down With The Joneses:
Neighbors Compete On Saving Energy

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Slower Population Growth Could Significantly Reduce Carbon Emissions,concludes
a study by economist David Rosnick at the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Even an additional 1% population growth results in an extra 2oF rise in global temperature by 2100. “Over time, the temperature change is greater and becomes increasingly sensitive to population growth,” concludes the paper.

This paper is just the latest of several studies, including the 2014 IPCC report, that links population growth to growing.

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

 

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

 

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About melharte

Mel (Mary Ellen) Harte is a biologist (PhD) and climate change educator. She co-authored the free online book, COOL THE EARTH, SAVE THE ECONOMY, available at www.CoolTheEarth.US, and writes the CLIMATE CHANGE THIS WEEK column at the HuffingtonPost. Living summers in the alpine Rockies, she is on the frontlines of watching what climate change can do. Her diagnostic digital photographs of wildflowers have appeared in numerous publications.
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