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

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

One More Reason To Save Forests: The David Bowie Hunter, a spider newly discovered in the Malaysian highlands in 2015. Forests house fascinating forms of life. Credit Oskar87jk at flickr

Forests: the cheapest way to store carbon

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

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

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

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

Related Headline:

What Drought Stricken Trees Looks Like, at Ground Level – drying and dying in California, along with the forests that store a vital part of the state’s water supply. Credit Leah Millis at

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



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

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

Not So Merry Christmas, Texas as a tornado wreaked destruction on December 26, 2015. Source

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

2015 closed with:

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

Get Ready for More of This, California! Source

2016 will continue the chaos as:

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

2015 Was Hotter And Wilder By Far than previous record hot years. NASA

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

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

All types of extreme weather are occurring worldwide simultaneously: droughts, heavy storms, floods, heat waves. Expect more, with continuing climate change.


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Pretty Puffins are now at risk of extinction as climate change and fishing reduces its food sources. Credit Felicia Wert at

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

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

When The Amazon Goes, so will the Blue Macaw.

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




OO US 2015 Wintertime Floods Among Costliest Ever

Related Headline:

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


OO Balmy Winter Hits French Ski Workers With Unemployment

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



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

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

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

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

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

OO Big Oil Braced For Global Warming While It Fought Regulations

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


Fluffy SF Fog: So Beautiful, So Toxic Source

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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




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

Related Headlines:

OO Our Worldwide Energy Transformation in 2015

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

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


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

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

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



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

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

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



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


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


They can go here to find locations:


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




2015 Headlines: Thanks for the Memories!

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

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

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

*** Solar Visions ***

Solar Dragon Stadium in Japan designed by Toyo Ito. Its dragon-scale roof of 8,000 panels, is said to be enough to power up to 80% of the surrounding neighborhood. Source

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

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

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


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

OO A Big Boost For Solar Rooftops In India: Subsidies

OO Electrifying India, With The Sun And Small Loans


Check it out here, right now!




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

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

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

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



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

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

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


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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